Burgers and Burpees event raises money for juvenile diabetes

Mt. Airy community raises money for juvenile diabetes at Final-ly Friday

NewsWorks.org, July 29, 2013

Just a few pretzels caused Pamela MacElree’s insulin level to elevate and result in a low blood sugar count. She downed some orange juice, which absorbs the glucose. This was Friday evening, shortly before Urban Athlete, a fitness gym McElree co-owns at 7112 Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy, was to host the 3rd Annual Burgers and Burpees to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to cure Type 1 diabetes.

MacElree, 32, has had diabetes since she was nine. She wears an insulin pump the size of a beeper. Type 1 means the pancreas cannot produce insulin. The pump infuses insulin two-three times a day, as opposed to self-injecting insulin or pricking her fingers for blood-glucose levels four-six times a day. Change in levels, high or low, can be life-threatening. According to JDRF, almost three million Americans have Type 1, and 15,000 children and 15,000 adults in America are diagnosed with it every year. “Insulin is not a cure,” said MacElree. “It helps balance insulin, diet and activity throughout the day. Activity and exercise are beneficial for diabetics.”

MacElree, brings a face to the condition, motivating gym members to participate. “We have the facility for this,” she said. “It becomes a community-based event, where people can make an active contribution, eat and talk, a fun way to create awareness.”

What is a burpee? “From a standing position, the person squats down like a squat thrust, jumps to their feet in a push up position, does a push up, jumps with feet back to hands in squat form, jumps in the air, and repeats,” explained MacElree.

The participants went in groups of four to see how many burpees they could do in five minutes. In the background, music blared, trainer Andy Thorn manned the clock, people cheered, McElree’s father grilled burgers, while three sponsors, Qdoba, offered Mexican grill, Indigo Schuy Activewear and Stella.Dot Independent Stylist sold their wares.

Shantih Brando had the top women’s score with 75. Her son, Will Taylor, was tops among the children with 55 in 2:30.

“I try to add a few more every year,” said Brando, whose company, Inside Out Home Solutions, was also a sponsor. “The atmosphere pushes you. We feel strongly and care about Pamela. This is the best of our community and shows how we support each other.”

MacElree fulfilled her goal of 55.

Thorn did an amazing 96.

“I wanted to maintain a pace of 20 in 40 seconds, rest for 20, and hope I didn’t fall apart,” he explained. “If it benefits JD, it’s worth the fatigue. There is an enormous sense of pride and ownership in the gym. This is the greatest community. It’s the closest to a family you can come in a gym.”

The evening brought in $1,808, but will increase when the participants collect their pledges. Before the children’s portion, Bob Elfant of Elfant-Wissahickon Realtors pledged a dollar for each burpee the kids did. Seven children totaled 263. Elfant then promised another $250 if the number of burpees in the 90 second sprint exceeded 250. Twenty-two adults and children totaled 440 with Gretchen Trefney leading with 27.

There were a host of sponsors, many of whom workout at Urban Athlete: Admark 360, Avenida, Blue Banyan Yoga, Culture Hair Studio, Earth, Bread and Brewery, Ground Zero Salon, The Juice Room & Video Library, Elfant-Wissahickon Realtors, Martin Elfant, Inc., Mt. Airy Animal Hospital, Rhino Chiropractic Center, Rich Walker Photographer, Jacqui Rosenberger Massage. Raffle prizes included three lower level tickets to the Phillies-Cubs game Aug. 7, four training sessions with Pamela, and certificates from Rosenberger, Avenida, Earth, Bread and Brewery and The Wine Thief.

A telling moment was when 11-year old Quincy Moore showed MacElree his pump.

“He usually doesn’t want to talk about it, but he couldn’t wait to show her his pump,” said his mother, Amy Lydon.