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Published: Saturday, 9/12/2009

Yoga class seeks record, funds to fight cancer

BLADE STAFF

If you've ever wanted to give yoga a try, Katie Morgan-Lousky has a proposition for you: Come downtown Sunday and join a couple thousand people for a 30-minute class.

The founder of Cherished Friends of Ahava along with her friends at the Victory Center and Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio Inc. are hoping to set a world record for a group yoga session. They also hope to raise money for their efforts to help local cancer patients and their families.

"It's my dream to get 5,000 people down here. I would flip out. I would tap dance on top of my building," said Ms. Morgan-Lousky, who owns Ahava Spa and Wellness Center, 34 South St. Clair St. "To me, it's about more than the Guinness Book of World Records. It's about saying that many people in Toledo, Ohio, have opened their hearts and want to support organizations that are supporting cancer patients."

For $15 - $30 if you'd like a yoga mat and T-shirt - participants will gather on St. Clair Street between Washington and Lafayette tomorrow. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the giant yoga class in the street is to begin at 9:30 a.m. Mike Zerner, who teaches yoga at the Victory Center and Ahava, will lead the class from center stage with speakers donated by Markey's Audio Visual set up along the street.

For Jean Schoen, founder and executive director of Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, the event promises to be an out-of-the-ordinary but fun way for three groups with similar aims to raise badly needed dollars.

"Every penny that we raise will go toward the programs that all three of our organizations have to offer," she said.

Cancer Center of Northwest Ohio is a fledgling nonprofit whose mission is to connect cancer patients and their families with existing programs and to research the need for other assistance programs. The Victory Center describes itself as "a place of hope, laughter, peace, acceptance, and connection" where cancer patients may try alternative therapy techniques, while Cherished Friends of Ahava offers free day-long spa and salon treatments for cancer patients.

"The public generally thinks we are in competition with each other and a lot of supporters feel like they have to support one or the other," Ms. Morgan-Lousky said, adding that she and Victory Center Executive Director Kelly Brooks don't feel that way. "You can never have too many people want to support cancer patients, and they need that support."



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