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Putting zoom into Zumba to fight pancreatic cancer

The Monarch building at 730 Greenwood St. in Albemarle hosts Zumba classes several times during a typical week. Fitness devotees dance and move to Latin and hip-hop rhythms in a high-energy workout.

Recently, the same building hosted the fourth annual Larry Crump Zumbathon which raised money for PurpleStride Charlotte, a pancreatic cancer walk.

Zumba instructor Lisa Whitley rocks to the beat during the recent fourth annual Zumbathon. (Photo by Charles Curcio)

The event raised $1,900, well over the goal of $1,000 stated by Just Dance Fitness director Troy Connell.

Connell led the class along with instructors Nathan Connell, Lisa Whitley and Crystal Dove.

Connell said he had worked with Crump for a time at Michelin in Norwood. Crump’s widow, Twinkle, “is passionate about the cause” of pancreatic cancer, Connell said.

Connell called pancreatic cancer a silent killer, adding “many times when people are diagnosed with it, it’s too late…it’s tough to find a cure.”

Connell said Zumba is his passion, one he likes to share with the community.

“I’m a 10-year student of Zumba; my doctor said I needed to lose weight, then I got hooked on it,” Connell said.

He eventually started a Zumba business, Just Dance Fitness, saying Zumba “is a great social activity.”

Just Dance Fitness director Troy Connell leads the class at the fourth annual Zumbathon. (Photo by Charles Curcio)

The goals of the event, Connell said, were to get members of the community along with Zumba students to make some connections and “raise a few bucks.”

Albemarle Women’s Clinic P.A., Albemarle Nutrition, Cathy and Mark Deal, Chad Thompson Plumbing, K&L Excavating and Penny and Mark Harris were the corporate sponsors of the Zumbathon, providing T-shirts, signs and items for auction to raise money.