Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s (LBBC) national expansion initiative for Yoga on the Steps® kicked off in Washington, DC where LBBC hosted the signature fundraising event on Oct. 16, 2011. For the first time and in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary, Yoga on the Steps: Washington, DC was featured on the steps of Freedom Plaza with the capitol positioned perfectly as the event’s backdrop. With the support of generous team and individual donations and corporate sponsorships, Yoga on the Steps: Washington, DC surpassed its fundraising goal, raising almost $55,000 for LBBC education initiatives.
Nearly 30 teams registered for Yoga on the Steps, and more than 100 participants navigated through the DC metro system early Sunday morning to share in the transformative, healing power of yoga. Who knew that the brisk morning would quickly transcend into 70-degree temperatures that surfaced just as the light grey skies turned blue and the bright sun rays graced the horizon?
The class was for people of all ages and skill levels. The “yoga studio of Freedom Plaza” consisted of children, college alumni, seasoned yogis, novice participants and other breast cancer supporters from different colors, creeds and backgrounds. The outdoor yoga class was led by Jennifer Schelter, MFA, executive director of Yoga Schelter in Philadelphia. Jennifer has been serving as the lead yoga instructor of the event for 10 years and is looking forward to helping LBBC introduce the signature event to new cities across the country.
In the future, LBBC may even explore Glastonbury, Conn. as a host city for Yoga on the Steps, the hometown of Yoga on the Steps: Washington, DC top fundraising team The Divine Survivors Society of Glastonbury, CT. The team raised over $2,000 and, with genuine efforts to support the event, left Connecticut at 4:00 a.m. just to make it to Yoga on the Steps on time! Each member of the team won tickets for WMZQ Winterfest, a prize donated by WMZQ’s radio host Jenni Chase, who served as Yoga on the Steps’ mistress of ceremonies.
Sandi Dennis, a Philadelphia native, always wanted to participate in Yoga on the Steps but never had the opportunity after moving to Washington, DC to practice healthcare law. Yoga on the Steps: Washington, DC named Sandi top individual fundraiser just before she won a $100 gift certificate from White House | Black Market for surpassing her $1,000 fundraising goal in only two days!
“This year Yoga on the Steps is truly speaking to me, as it comes to Washington, DC where I live, work and play. Last year I had breast cancer and yoga helped me physically and mentally. The [yoga] teachings helped me to accept myself as a cancer patient. Like it or not, that’s what life handed to me and that’s what I had to deal with,” said Sandi in a recent blog post.
Darcie Vugrinovich, a Yoga on the Steps participant, not only attended the event but also offered to share her story in a short testimonial before the class. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 28, Darcie credits yoga for helping her focus on the present moment.
After the class, participants visited the Healthy Living Expo featuring products and services that promote health and wellness, local nonprofit organizations and yoga studios.
Photos: Laurie Beck Photography