Technology links class with Zumba down under
G'Day fellow Zumba fans!
That was the message from down under as, for the first time ever, a class in Australia connected live to a class at the Civic Centre, in Immingham.
Using the computer software Skype, Zumba fanatics from both sides of the world came together to raise awareness of cancer.
Julie Johnson, of Immingham, organised the event with the help from her family here and in Hervey Bay, Australia.
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Her aim was to raise as much money as possible for the Pink Rose Suite at Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, and Australian charity CanTeen, which supports children with cancer.
Julie, 54, said: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and received fantastic treatment from staff at the Pink Rose Suite.
"Unfortunately they are now helping my daughter to fight the disease but she is doing very well.
"I wanted to do something to say thanks and as I enjoy Zumba, I decided to use it for an event.
"After throwing ideas around with my family, we finally came up with something that had never been done before.
"We have cousins living in Hervey Bay who attend Zumba classes there.
"Recently, the country held its annual CanTeen's Bandanna Day, raising awareness of children's cancers, so we decided to bring everything together – quite literately.
"Through Skype we linked a Zumba class in Immingham with a class running at the same time in Hervey Bay."
Julie's daughter, Emma Bell, 35, has just finished her last course of radiotherapy.
She said: "I was so glad to be a part of the event and to be able to raise money for such a great cause.
"It has been a tough year after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.
"I think it was the uniqueness of this event that brought so many people out. I got very emotional when I arrived and saw everyone."
Despite a nine-hour time difference and a few technical issues, the live stream worked well and the classes could hear and speak to each other.
Julie continued: "The Civic Centre was packed with people taking part. It was amazing to have shared our Zumba class with family in Australia.
"We had bandannas on sale at the event as well, and all proceeds from that will be sent to Australia to help support CanTeen."
Businesses from Immingham and surrounding areas donated raffle prizes. Money from this and anything else raised on the day will go towards the Pink Rose Suite.
Trying Zumba for the first time was Jenny Smith, a consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon at Grimsby's hospital.
"I treat women from the Pink Rose Suite and I understand just how important donations are from the public," she said.
"We are currently trying to buy new equipment for the theatre and ward to benefit our patients.
"Research shows that women who exercise regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer."