BERWYN, Pa., March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The owners of Anu Fitness Club (http://www.anufitness.com) have a new mission: To help the charity Breastcancer.org spread their Prevention Campaign to educate people on how exercise, nutrition and stress mangement can reduce the risks of breast cancer. The following article is found in the March 2013 edition of Chester County Life Magazine.
Anu Fitness Club... A New Name, A New Mission
...All About Fitness and Giving Back
By Susan I. Shiber, Chester County Life Magazine
Mythology is a fascinating mix of fanciful tales and prehistoric reflections. Every culture comes with its own set of primeval deities, yet similarities are often striking. Goddesses and Gods were agile, wise, nurturing and strong. One of these is the Celtic Goddess of prosperity, health and comfort. She is known as Anu (pronounced an-oo).
How, you ask, does a Celtic Goddess materialize into a streamlined fitness center that promotes health, nutrition, and disease prevention? Very well. Very well indeed. When the owners contemplated a new direction for their successful business, they researched a variety of names. Anu struck them as a veritable forerunner of fitness.
The fitness club, founded in 2001, sports not only the name Anu, but a revitalized focus, as well. From the beginning, the club has been devoted to contributing to community causes. Beneficiaries include SGK Race for the Cure, Ward 57 at Walter Reed Medical Center, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year, in just six weeks, the club and its members raised enough money to send a terminally ill girl and her family to Disney World and contribute a substantial sum to another Make-A-Wish child. In addition, the club annually supports Toys for Tots, Philabundance, and The Lord's Pantry.
Exo Malo Bonum:
Anu's altruistic spirit expanded into a major mission while an owner John McCaffrey recovered from surgery in 2012. "Due to an automobile accident, John required spinal fusion surgery that resulted in a staph infection," says his business partner Hoekstra. "He spent almost a month in the hospital, then three months at home with round-the-clock antibiotics. During his illness and recovery, John had ample time to think about the next stages of our club and determine ways to use his convalescence to create something good for all. The Latin phrase ex malo bonum (out of mal comes good) is where his idea that our health club could help the charity Breastcancer.org originated.
"John's sister, Rita Lusen, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and is now recovered," continues Hoekstra. "Rita has always been very much on his mind and his concern for her fueled our mission to use Anu to benefit people and the community with a stream of revenue. During this period, he realized that life isn't just about us; it's about the bigger picture – helping others. In 2011 after her recovery, Rita joined Breastcancer.org as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Marketing. John and I agreed that a partnership with Breastcancer.org is the helping-hand mission for the next phase of our club."
Breast cancer touches so many families. By helping to educate people on how to minimize their risks for this and other diseases, Anu will help so many people. Research compiled by The American Cancer Society indicates that 90 percent of breast cancer causes are controllable: physical activity, weight management and environmental conditions (i.e.: exercise, nutrition and healthy living). Only 10 percent of the risk factors come from hereditary predisposition. "A woman is the heart of the home," believes McCaffrey. "As family CEO, she must be healthy. Exercise and nutrition are important keys to her sound health and disease prevention, particularly breast cancer, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all cancers that affect women. It is by far the most dominant of cancers contracted by women.
"Men, too, benefit from exercise and nutrition to ward off heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other problems," McCaffrey goes on. "Anu Fitness Club is built around disease prevention. With Anu Fitness Club, we are taking the initiative further by forming a corporate sponsorship and funding relationship with Breastcancer.org. A portion of all membership enrollments will go to Breastcancer.org's mission and National Prevention Campaign."
Breastcancer.org is a local charity with an international reach. Founded by Marisa C. Weiss, MD, a breast oncologist at Lankenau Hospital, it is the world's number one online breast health and breast cancer resource. With close to 17 million visitors, 9,000,000 of them unique, it gives women and their loved ones solace, advice and a place to learn and share. Anu's horizontal business objective is to augment the site with a physical presence and financial support that could span the U.S. in the future.
A Fitness Partnership: Anu Fitness Club and Breastcancer.org
During Lusen's illness, she remembers: "It hurt me to see the pain and anguish that my family experienced when I was diagnosed and going through treatments and the recovery process. They witnessed how Breastcancer.org made a dramatic impact on me. I lived on the website. It was the only place I could get quality answers to the million questions I had. It got me through my darkest hours and eased terrifying fears. I couldn't be more thrilled with Anu's charitable support. It's the ultimate way to give back and help countless others battling the disease."
The corporate sponsorship was launched in October 2012 with a series of program and product tie-ins. In October 2012 the health club donated one dollar out of each slim pink smoothie, and 10 cents for every mile logged on the pink Cybex Treadmill to Breastcancer.org. The club also hosted class marathons and a concert with proceeds going to Breastcancer.org.
In addition to the charitable arm, the Anu and Breastcancer.org partnership makes fundamental sense. Recent studies reveal that regular exercise and weight management affect breast cancer threat factors. According to the National Cancer Institute, four or more hours of exercise each week may decrease hormone levels and lower risk. The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. Up to 90 percent of breast cancers could be mitigated by regular exercise, proper nutrition, and limiting environmental carcinogens. Breastcancer.org aims to educate people on their ability to help themselves through controlling this 90 percent, which can thereby reduce new diagnoses as well as recurrences.
A report in Cancer journal cites that researchers found that of more than 3,000 women with or without breast cancer, those who had exercised during childbearing years were less likely to develop the cancer after menopause. Evidence suggests that if an exercise regimen begins as late as after menopause, it can still help. Journal of the American Medical Association states that women who have had breast cancer improve survival chances even if they walk as little as one hour per week. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week coupled with 75 minutes of vigorous workouts and two strength training sessions.
Anu offers any number of exercise options from personal training to group classes, including Pilates, yoga, and balance. Kickboxing and Zumba, a fusion of Latin and international dance, are cardio favorites. Power Pump combines weights, bars, tubes, and exercise balls to build strength, while Sculpt tones muscle groups. Other features include personal televisions for each cardio machine, virtual cycling, a spinning room, an infrared sauna that is instrumental in sweating out toxins trapped in the body, massage therapy, nutrition programs, and a juice bar.
It's never too late to start. "We have five members in their 80s," announces Hoekstra. "Two women joined when they were 85 and now very healthy 89-year-olds. One man is in his mid-80s, but you would think he was in his 60s. Another man in his late 80s still exercises regularly after recovering from a quadruple by-pass a few years ago. There is an octogenarian member who consistently works out with a personal trainer to maintain his strength and balance. These individuals are inspiration to us all. There is absolutely no doubt that exercise and nutrition lead to good health, disease prevention, longevity, and happiness. My grandmother lived to be 104 and being active and on the move was a huge contributor to her long life."
Hoekstra points out that Anu Fitness Club transcends prevention. "We really focus on the adult population from late teens on. If we can help parents improve their health, they and their whole families will benefit. And – if parents get it, children, too, will grow, following the path to exercise, nutrition, and general fitness. It's working. We see it every day."
Be Part of the Future
Anu Fitness Club has chosen to partner with Breastcancer.org to help them promote their goals of awareness and prevention. Breastcancer.org's website started more than 10 years ago. The organization is evolving to its larger mission to educate people in a hands-on environment that stresses how they can minimize their chances of a breast cancer diagnosis or recurrence through exercise and nutrition. Breastcancer.org's vision includes expanding into a larger building to house corporate offices and adequate space to offer personalized encouragement to women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families. Breastcancer.org dreams about a future that incorporates health clubs around the nation as part of its prevention message. The Breastcancer.org/health club duo would serve as a profitable business that drops revenue profits into the non-profit segment and enable it to expand its mission.
Breastcancer.org's goal of education on prevention through exercise and nutrition is a perfect match to Anu's Fitness Club's objective to prevent or minimize disease through exercise and nutrition. Anu Fitness Club is the first health club to become a corporate sponsor with Breastcancer.org and it pledges to help Breastcancer.org achieve the next phase of its mission, a National Prevention Campaign.
Since nearly all diseases can be mitigated or eliminated through weight management, exercise, proper nutrition and stress management, the owners of Anu Fitness Club have a vision to create a new breed of non-profit 501c-3 health clubs in major U.S. cities where charity headquarters are located. In this manner, all club membership fees and revenues would support that charity's mission of disease prevention. This new brand of non-profit health club (similar to the Y, but for health education and disease prevention with a charity as the beneficiary) will revolutionize the industry and play a large role in disease education and prevention, while devoting profits to a real charity organization that helps people and their families reduce their disease risks and improve their health. Currently, there is no such health club business plan in existence. Anu Fitness Club is leading the way!
The Anu and Breastcancer.org partnership will be the only one of its kind in the nation. Combining a place to exercise with wellness and prevention goals along with an educational support sector is both brilliant and long over-due.
It's a grand plan, but one that is doable. "After all, we started our club with zero members in 2001," says Hoekstra. "Of all the clubs that opened when we did or in subsequent years, ours is the only one still here. Others either went out of business or are in third or fourth ownerships. We were honored by Suburban Life magazine as Best of the Best Health Club and Personal Trainers in 2010, 2011 and 2012. We have a successful formula that works. We're confident our new mission will propel Anu Fitness Club and Breastcancer.org to thrive and expand awareness nationwide."
The first way Anu Fitness Club is helping Breastcancer.org in 2013 is to spread its mission throughout the Main Line and beyond in this Chester County Life cover feature. Breastcancer.org is looking for an angel donor to jump-start its vision, and promote the National Prevention Campaign message. To donate, contact Rita Lusen and Breastcancer.org at rlusen@Breastcancer.org.
"Say yes to exercise and healthy living with Anu Fitness Club," exclaims Hoekstra. "Life has no remote. You have to get off the couch and change it yourself. Anu Fitness Club is a great place to rev up your transformation and this is no myth!"
Join before March 31, 2013 and we will donate your enrollment fee to Breastcancer.org!
- breast cancer
- disease prevention