The biggest loser

Health clubs team up to help people ‘lose it’ and raise money for children

Six Clark County health clubs are on board for the Lose it! Challenge, spearheaded by Russ Dyer, owner of Princeton Athletic Club, to benefit the Alexa Dyer Life Challenge Award through the Downtown Vancouver Rotary. While they are at it, these businesses stand to bolster their memberships during the hot health club season just following the holidays.

Dyer started the Alexa Dyer Life Challenge Award after his infant daughter died of a brain tumor in 2001. This is the first non-local, internet based fundraiser the foundation has attempted. Dyer is capitalizing on the public’s desire to get healthy after the holidays. Lose It! participants shed weight for 12 weeks while sponsors to pledge dollars to see them do it.

Dyer got to know the owners of other Clark County clubs last year when they met to discuss tax and competition issues facing the local industry. He approached Club Green Meadows, Lake Shore Athletic Club, Oxford Athletic Club, Landover Athletic Club and the YMCA to sponsor the effort and offer specials and seminars to current and prospective members to entice them to join the challenge. Each club is doing something different.

Angie and Trey Friauf, new owners of 45-year-old Oxford Athletic Club, are offering 12-week personal training packages and 50 percent off the enrollment fee through January and donating proceeds from those fees to the foundation. Like Princeton and others, they are offering free seminars to members and nonmembers.

"This time of year is the busiest year for members. We have new members but also have a lot of reactivation," said Angie Friauf. "It’s top of everyone’s mind; everyone’s thinking about weight loss."

Clark College Vice President of Administrative Services Bob Knight has challenged the executive cabinet at Clark as well as the entire Downtown Vancouver Rotary Club to "lose it." The two teams will weigh themselves on a Port of Vancouver bulk scale before Jan. 16, the beginning of the program, and challenge other corporate teams to come on board.

Dyer hopes for as many as 10,000 participants, but with the feedback he’s received thus far, estimates it could be much higher. Dyer, Knight and others say there is inspiration in Alexa’s story, an inspiration that leads to giving.

"When there is a tragedy, you always wonder what good can come out of this?" asks Dyer. "Can it really be in God’s plan that a child dies?"

For more information about the Lose It! Challenge, visit
– Jessica Swanson

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