For the past decade, I have been lucky to work with incredible visionaries and talented companies in the pre-owned fitness equipment industry. There are companies that can take a rusted, non-functioning piece of equipment and make it look incredible and run like new. The re-manufacturing or reconditioning process takes time but the results are very satisfied customers. Someone with a background in design, fixing exercise equipment, and a little bit of showmanship can really stand apart from this crowded pack of fitness equipment suppliers. One of the best and brightest individuals is my friend Chris Kelly of The Gym Store.
I recently learned that Chris Kelly and Gym Store customized an exercise bike for the Lupus Foundation of America. The creative process, according to Kelly, “took about 4 weeks to complete. The Lupus Foundation helped with the design aspect, the colors, and logo. We added our special brand of remanufacturing to make it look incredible.” Kelly chose a Star Trac NXT bike, mainly because “the NXT model is a super durable bike, plus it has a lot of surface area for logos.” Kelly’s wife, Laura, is an active participant in the Lupus Foundation of America’s Northeast Chapter. Laura, who has Lupus, along with Chris take part in the annual “Walk To End Lupus” which takes place in cities all across America, including their area of New York City. The newly customized Lupus inspired exercise bike, valued at well over $1000, was then donated to The Lupus Foundation of America on behalf of Gym Store.
Chris and The Gym Store worked with several representatives of the northeast chapter of the Lupus Foundation on this project, including Monica Smith, Director of Development. I caught up with Monica via email and asked her a few questions about the disease and the bike donation. Monica mentioned that the goal of the exercise bike is to raise awareness through “Spin-A-Thon” type events at local health clubs, schools, and other sports facilities. “The Gym Store did an amazing job with the colors and our logo. My first reaction was like most in that it was incredibly creative and well done,” said Monica referring to the bike. I asked Monica about the disease, Lupus, and how it affects people. “There are many challenges in life for someone with Lupus. It is described by some as a ‘snowflake’ type disease, it affects each patient differently. It can affect any part of the body. One day you are feeling fine, the next day you are sick.” Lupus has been described by many in the medical community as a “cruel, unpredictable and devastating disease.” Monica went on, “The flares, the inflammation, the uncomfortable feelings can make it feel like a roller coaster ride of up and down days. This can lead some to isolation and sometimes depression in patients with Lupus.”
Monica spoke briefly about the purpose of a “Spin-A-Thon” and their main event, the Walk to End Lupus. “The focus of our events,” she said “is research and education. This for the public and the patients with Lupus. In addition, our goal is to enhance health education programs, support groups, global awareness of the disease, and medical journaling on a number of subject matters related to Lupus. “ In addition to the Walk To End Lupus – NYC, which Chris and Laura Kelly attend, there are other walks scheduled every year in places like Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, and many more. The “Spin-A-Thon” bike from the Gym Store can be rented out for special events by contacting the Lupus Foundation of America, Northeast chapter by calling 1-866-225-0348.
Monica introduced me to Sue Gloor, Regional Director, Lupus Foundation of America, Northeast and she added her thoughts as well. “The Lupus Foundation of America seeks to raise awareness about Lupus in support of the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with this cruel mystery. We are thankful to partners like the Gym Store who find creative ways to reach new audiences. The spectacular custom LFA spin bike which they designed incorporates question marks signifying that there is so much that is still unknown about lupus. As volunteers use the spin bike in their local health clubs, the Gym Store’s generous donation will continue to expand awareness to groups of individuals throughout the northeast region.”
What an incredible bike and donation by the talented team at the Gym Store. It was great catching up with Chris Kelly to learn more about this bike and its significance. And, it was great to meet and speak with Monica and Sue of the Lupus Foundation of America. I wish the Lupus Foundation of America the very best in their continued efforts to raise awareness for Lupus. To learn more about The Gym Store and their amazing customized products, visit www.gymstore.com. To learn more about how you can get involved with the Lupus Foundation of America, including their Walk To End Lupus and/or to host a “Spin-A-Thon,” visit www.lupus.org.