18Calling all Zumba enthusiasts and those who are just curious, it’s the 12th Annual St. Jude Zumbathon. There has been no better excuse to pull out those old leotards than for a good cause with LOTS of dancing. Join local Zumba instructors for 2.5 hours of non-stop DANCING. Although dancing is fun, it is not required, nor is any previous dance training. The fun starts on July 6 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hope Mills Recreation Center, located at 5766 Rockfish Road, Hope Mills. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15. The day of the event they will be $20 at the door and VIP (which gets you prime Zumba floor space on the first 2-3 rows AND a special gift from St. Jude) are $30. All of the proceeds go directly to St. Jude Children’s Research.
Zumbathon is the passion project of local fitness and personal instructor, mother of 3, military wife, and veteran, Natalie Haskell.
“Although I love supporting many charities, my favorite charity is St. Jude. I was honored and blessed to visit the hospital with some of my Zumba friends in 2013. It was an amazing experience. I also host this annual event in Severna Park, Maryland. When the Army moved us there in 2015, I continued the annual event traveling to Fayetteville; and now I travel also to Maryland since moving back in July 2022,” she said. “I decided to do an annual charity event for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in mid-April 2013. I volunteered to do a Relay for Life Flash Mob along with a midnight 1-hr Zumba class, outside of Jack Britt High School. I was honored to lead and be part of such a great cause; It was an AMAZING experience to volunteer and give back to the community.
“It was a mind-blowing experience to also have so much support from my Zumba friends, and the community! While performing a routine, I spotted a little girl between the age of 7-10, in the front row, with no hair and a wrapped purple scarf around her head. She was as happy as can be and smiling from ear to ear while dancing. At that time I thought and promised myself to do a charity event every year in honor of all the children battling cancer, with 100% proceeds for St. Jude's, as a way to give back with something that I truly enjoy doing, dancing! With less than 30 days of planning, I hosted the first annual St. Jude Zumbathon on May 31, 2013. We raised $1,100 for St. Jude. To date, we have raised over $140,000 for the hospital,” Haskell said.
Attendees can look forward to raffles, door prizes and a variety of vendors to shop with or get resources from such as Fit4Life Hope Mills, Isagenix International, Scentsy and Mary Kay. Instructors include some familiar faces such as Raisa Sanabria, Arturo Saldana, Jolecia Purcell, Judy Stephens, Teia Tyler, Jenya E Nguyen, Morgan Jones, Nina Batton, Amy McLeod Brewer, Fanny Loving Zumba®, Devins Nickens, and Sarah Brennan. This year’s event is sponsored by and wouldn’t be possible without, Fit4Life in Hope Mills, Hope Mills Recreation Center, Luigi’s Italian Restaurant (raffle prizes), and Corbin Flash Photography and Videography.
Haskell is looking forward to this year’s Zumbathon and the many people and organizations that made it possible.
“A special shout out to the Fayetteville Zumba community for all of their support, Hope Mills Recreation Center for allowing us to use their space to host this most noble cause; also to Corbin Flash for donating his time and great talents for our photos and videos. My dear and sweet friends who have supported this cause and event since our first Zumbathon in 2013, Lynn Cline, Terry Knight, Adilah Khalil-Ullah, and Linda Higgins from Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, and my Maryland friends, Jennie Gaviola, Gwen Coleman and Genny PJ.”

(Photo: Natalie Haskell hosted the 12th Annual Zumbathon in Maryland at the beginning of June. The Fayetteville event will be held July 6. Photo courtesy of Working with Natalie Facebook Page)

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