Knocking down pins to fight cancer

Photo courtesy of Beth Thompson

Photo courtesy of Beth Thompson

Area residents will soon knock down pins for the third straight year to raise money for cancer-related programs.

The Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute will host Bowling 4 Booty at 10 Park Lanes in south Charlotte on July 10, a Thursday. The event will benefit 24 Hours of Booty, a 24-hour cycling event of LIVESTRONG, which raises local and national funds for cancer-fighting programs. Bicyclists will ride around a 3-mile loop in the Myers Park area and Charlotte’s event will take place July 25 to 26, a Friday and Saturday.

“Even if you can’t or don’t want to ride, it’s still fun to cheer on the riders,” Carly Mechtly, a program development specialist at the institute, said.

24 Hours of Booty raises funds to assist with financing of survivorship programs at the Levine Cancer Institute. The organization works with patients to determine a personalized care plan based on patients’ individual needs.

“Bowling 4 Booty is an opportunity for our team to get together before the event and for others to come out to support their fundraising efforts,” Mechtly said.

The institute initiated the event to allow non-riders to still be able to donate without attending the cycling event.

“If there is someone who can’t ride or a family member can’t be at the ride, they still can contribute to the 24 Hours of Booty and still raise funds,” Mechtly said.

Programs funded through the event include different survivorship programs, such as yoga, tai chi, art therapy, nutrition counseling, massage therapy and acupuncture, Mechtly said. All the services are free to patients and are modified to the individual.

The institute’s artist in residence, Carol Tait, said she received positive reactions for her art therapy program.

“I often have patients say when they are painting with me, ‘This is very relaxing. It makes me forget about the chemotherapy,’” Tait said.

One initiative funded by 24 Hours of Booty is the Levine Cancer Institute Cancer Wellness Program, in which the institute works in conjunction with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to provide patients with individual workout programs. Exercise science and physiology students often help with workouts.

Yoga is one of the exercises the institute also provides. Kristy Price, a certified yoga therapist, said she hears numerous comments from survivors about their experience with yoga.

Price said one patient returned to her doctor for a physical after only a few months of consistent yoga practice and her blood pressure had dropped to a point that she no longer needed to be medicated. The patient attributed the change to yoga because that was the only change in her life.

When the institute initially started the bowling fundraiser, leadership wasn’t sure how well it would be received. That’s no longer a concern.

“Park Lanes had just finished being renovated, and we saw it as a way to get everyone together for a fun night benefiting a great cause,” said Kristi Roberson, a regional development specialist at the Institute. “After the first year was a huge success, we have continued it every year since.”

The Levine Cancer Institute staff considers the past two years as successful events.

“Everyone loved it, and we had about 100 people come out the past two years,” Mechtly said. “People were asking about it before we set it up.”

The event will be at 1700 Montford Drive from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets include unlimited bowling with shoes, food, a DJ and “Booty Beverage” specials. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Find more information and purchase tickets at www.bowling4booty2014.eventbrite.com.

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