Why I Reach & Raise: Alison Judah
I first learned about Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise yoga fundraiser many years ago when it was called Yoga on the Steps. My design firm helped create a brochure for the event and it interested me as I was practicing yoga at the time. I thought, “What a great way to raise money for the nonprofit.” I attended the event with friends a few times over the years, but it was not until 2017 that I decided to start a team. I teach at two yoga studios and thought it would be a great community building event with my fellow yogis, who are all very supportive. In 2018, our team grew to 15 people from 7 in 2017, and the funds we raised grew as well.
In 2017 my mother passed away from stage IV breast cancer and it made Reach & Raise even more important to me. I wanted to start a team to share the event with others and to increase my fundraising for LBBC. Our team motto is “Go Yoga Yourself,” which is something my mother would say (and not in jest) when we were talking on the phone and I would have to go teach yoga. She is not the first person I know who has had the disease—you probably know someone who has been fighting the disease or lost someone to it. I feel that by having our team we can help LBBC offer education and support services to people who need help during a terribly difficult time.
In the months before Reach & Raise I like to do a variety of things to fundraise for our team. Since I am a yoga teacher, I offer donation classes at the studios where I teach. I find that studio owners are very supportive of the fundraising. Last year, I offered aerial yoga, yin yoga and some mat classes. I also like to design, print and sell a t-shirt, and the proceeds are donated to the team. Last year, a friend even made some eye pillows and bracelets and donated the money to our team. All it takes is doing something you are good at to do extra fundraising in your community.
It is hard to explain the feelings I have when standing on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my fellow yogis during Reach & Raise. I find that yoga is a profound way to connect with everyone there, and honor the spirits of people who have breast cancer and those we have lost. Last year it was rainy early in the morning, but as we practiced, the sun came out and created a lovely warmth on the steps. I could feel my mother there with me in my heart.
I highly recommend attending Reach & Raise. Go with some friends or join a friend’s team. The yoga on the day of the event is not a difficult practice and beginners, as well as more advanced yogis, can do it. Or make it the day you try yoga with your friends. You will not regret being there and feeling the positive energy of our practice.
I hope to see new people on my team this year and I hope you consider attending or supporting someone you know. LBBC is a unique organization and an amazing resource.
I want to thank everyone who has donated to our team over the past 2 years. We look forward to the 2019 event and raising money for this important cause!
Alison Judah is the president of her marketing and design firm, Hypno Design, Inc., yoga teacher with over 200 hours of training specializing in vinyasa flow, and a fine artist. You can find out more on her blog, Facebook or Instagram.