West End Physical Therapy found a way to treat the whole community on Halloween and donate to a worthy cause at the same time.
It will be holding its 1st Annual Community Day on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 12-4 p.m. at its location on the corner of Silver Spring Boulevard and Rt. 209 in Kresgeville.
Melissa Hager, a physical therapist at West End Physical Therapy, is credited for the initial idea. She has become a participant in Team Training, a division of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, made up of endurance events. She became a member because her brother-in-law, Carl Hesse of Lower Nazareth, was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2009 and she wanted to find a way to help him and others suffering from the disease. He is currently in remission.
A runner, Melissa began training in June 2009 for the January 2010 Walt Disney World Goofy Race and Half Challenge in Florida, running 13.1 miles on Saturday and 26.2 miles on Sunday. In April 2010, she ran a half-marathon (13. 1 miles) in the Lehigh Valley. She raised a total of $6,800 from those two events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is training for the January 2011 Walt Disney World Goofy Race and Half Challenge.
"My goal is to reach the $10,000 mark. I'm hoping to bring in at least $500 at the Community Day," she says.
Melissa asked her employers, Steve and Andrea Lazicki, owners of West End Physical Therapy, if she could hold a Chili Cookoff as a fundraiser.
"I think what she's doing is wonderful. She's very passionate about who and what she loves, especially her family and friends. We felt we needed to support her and it's a great charity. I think it's commendable how she is pushing her body in running for this cause. She put this whole thing together," says Andrea.
Her co-workers quickly came on board with the idea and it began to grow until it blossomed into the Community Day event.
"Everyone has been just great and Trisha Vanderah has been my organizational wizard," says Melissa.
There will be giveaways, door prizes, kids' activities with a balloon clown from 1-2 p.m., face painting, crafts, photos and Trick or Treats, so no matter your age, come in costume. There will be refreshments like hot dogs, soups, haluski, apple cider, a bake sale. Adults can take advantage of free health screenings, a blood mobile and professional speakers with a question and answer forum like Dr. Thomas Meade of Meade Orthopedics of Coordinated Health talking about total knee replacement and pelvic floor dysfunction. There will even be water aerobics offered at 12, 1 and 2 p.m. in the indoor pool.
In addition to all this, there will be a Chili Cookoff. So far, there are 17 entrants and will they accept any entries up to 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning. There will be prizes awarded for Judge's Choice and People's Choice. There are five categories of flavor, smell, texture, heat and appearance.
So you are invited to a unique kind of Halloween party. Come dressed in costume, socialize with your neighbors, pick your favorite chili and support Melissa in her endeavor to make a difference.