Zumbathon raises money for Hopper Scholarship

A half dozen women and one brave man shook and grooved to a fast paced hip hop  beat.

This is not a Friday night at the  dance club; this is Zumba, a fitness program that combines fast-paced hip-hop music with a Latin tone and easy-to-follow dance moves. Zumba routines incorporate interval training, alternating fast and slow rhythms and resistance training.

 These women, and brave man, are preparing for an upcoming Zumba-thon benefit to help raise money for the Charlotte Olinger Hopper Scholarship for survivors of cancer and their children

Missouri Southern is hosting “Dance It Forward,” a Zumba-thon fundraising event to benefit families impacted by cancer.  The event will be held Friday, April 19 from 6-9 p.m. in the Young gymnasium in the Leggett and Platt Building.

Ruth Stamper, a junior English major and one of Southern’s own Zumba instructors, is the brains behind the event.

Stamper became close with the Hopper after being awarded the Charlotte and Randy Hopper Outstanding Non-Traditional English Major scholarship in 2012.

“Randy has attended some of my Zumba classes and knew I was very active. After we talked for a bit about the scholarship, I suggested  I host a Zumba-thon and here we are,” she said.

The Zumba-thon will feature nine local Zumba instructors, each presenting their own 20-minute session. Stamper will be one of the nine.

“There is nothing like the experience you get when you go to a Zumba-thon because you get to experience so many different instructors because everyone’s got a crazy different style and different choreography,” she said.

The cost at the door is $15 or you can pre-register and pay at cohscholarship.org. There will be a large array of door prizes such as gift cards and gift baskets. Some of the local business that have contributed prizes include Tropical Tan, Oasis Day Spa, The Brush and  Blade, the Red Onion and the Springfield Cardinals. Raffle tickets for the prizes will cost $1.

“You can actually buy extra tickets and put the ticket in the prize you want to win, so bring your ones,” Stamper said.

  The proceeds will go to The Charlotte Olinger Hopper Scholarship and The Cancer Alliance of Springfield.

The scholarship is awarded to cancer survivors or their children to ease the financial burden of college.

Charlotte Hopper is a Southern Alumnus and a survivor of ovarian cancer. With the help of her husband Randy Hopper, she founded the scholarship this year to pay forward the good fortune of her recovery to those who need it most.

The event is open to the public and full participation is not required.

“We don’t care if you do the choreography as long as you are moving and having a great time there to help out the scholarship, it’s just wonderful,” Stamper said.

Jessica Hursh, a senior biology major is enrolled in Stamper’s Zumba class and is a fan of the fitness program. “I love Zumba, I feel more confident and better about myself after a class,” she said.