MIDDLEPORT, Ohio — Breakathon 2021, “From the Heart” was shown some love by donors earlier this month, raising over $50,000 to support the heart health of local young people.
According to Ben Nease of Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center in Middleport, founders of the Breakathon charity organization, the event raised over $57,000 in support of a program to provide youth athletes free heart screenings. He said the free heart screening clinic will be set up around February or March, and also provide educational materials about undetected heart conditions.
In an earlier interview, Nease said that statistics suggest that 1 in 300 youth have an undetected heart condition that can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest, and that numbers like these make it understandable that we have all been connected in some way to these sudden tragedies. He said working with youth at the Center makes the issue very personal to them, and led to the decision to use funding from this year’s Breakathon to establish the clinic.
“Our goal was to raise the funds to provide this service on an annual basis, and we were very pleased with this year’s response,” he said.
The fundraiser was held at the Blakeslee Center in Middleport. Doors opened at 9 a.m. with BJ Kreseen singing the National Anthem, and included the Breakathon and a craft show. The event had 81 student competitors from Bitanga’s, as well as non-students who participated in the event but at a lower level. Nease said the day went really well, especially considering the number of participants.
He commented that, “Anyone who has ever experienced this event are engulfed in a feeling of high energy, everyone is working toward a cause they believe in…it so good to be around that, it is so positive.”
He said having the event at the Blakeslee Center allowed more spectators than previous venues, and that the count was around was around 1,000, up from 250 in past years. Breakathon was formed in 2016, with funds raised from the event donated to the development of the Blakeslee Center.
“This is an ideal place to hold the event,” he said. “We have plenty of space for the competitors and the audience. It felt good to be back in the place that the fundraiser was organized to support. Our overall goal is to make the event grow each year, to continue to expand the number of attractions we provide in addition to the craft show.”
Laura Cleland event coordinator, oversaw the Craft Show aspect of Breakathon this year, and will be working with Nease on planning next year’s event scheduled for Nov. 5, 2022.
“We want to make an event even non karate enthusiasts want to attend by adding other attractions like the craft show,” Nease continued. “We are also considering a parade to show the community the positive influence our fundraisers have had over the past few years.”
Prizes were awarded to board breakers who ranged in age from five to adult using a tiered system based on the amount of money collected at the time of the event by each competitor from donations made in their name.
Winners of competition included: 1st place, Rylie Wolfe, with a contribution of $7,389.50; 2nd place, Peyton Richmond, who raised $4,575; and 3rd place went to AlexZander Starcher, who totals were $3,300.41.
Over 125 boards donated by corporate sponsors were also broken. The boards had the logos of the business donors on them, and many of those sponsors were in the audience.
Breakathon also saw the premier of the film “Mommy’s Friends”, written and produced by Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center. The film can now be viewed online, and contributions to the video will continue to be used for the heart screening clinic.
To view the film, visit thebreakathon.com website. Additional donations to “From the Heart” can be made in person at Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center,129 Mill St, Middleport, OH, or by calling 740-992-5715.
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