Lose It Challenge goes corporate

Nautilus sponsors prizes for businesses in the competition, from May 10 to June 21

In its second year, local businesses are encouraged to lose weight and support area families with terminally ill children through the Alexa Dyer Lose It Challenge.

Proceeds from the six-week weight-loss competition go to support the Alexa Dyer Life Challenge Award. The funds help to cover transportation costs, medical treatment, Christmas presents, mortgage payments and more depending on the need.

Alexa Dyer was the daughter of Michele and Russ Dyer, who own Princeton Athletic Club in Vancouver. Alexa was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on her first birthday in December of 1999. She outlived doctors’ prognoses, but died on Feb. 7, 2001.

Before she died, the Dyers and the Vancouver Rotary Foundation established a fund to honor Alexa. All funds are held by the Rotary Foundation.

Russ Dyer said the first weight-loss competition – 12 weeks in 2006 – saw mild success with a few hundred people raising $80,000.

Ron Arp, senior vice president of corporate communications for Nautilus, approached Dyer after the first challenge to help in the form of incentives.

The first 50 companies that sign up for the six-week challenge will receive a set of Bowflex SelectTech 220 adjustable dumbbells and a stand for their offices. The company that raises the most money (divided by participation) will receive a $10,000 shopping spree at Nautilus.

Individuals are also encouraged to enroll.

Nautilus drafted a proposal for human resources professionals on the Lose It website, www.loseitchallenge.org, encouraging them to implement the challenge at their workplace.

Once a company sets up a team on the website, each employee registers individually and joins their intended team. Once registered, an e-mail message can be sent on the participant’s behalf to potential sponsors or donors to generate pledges.

Each participant tracks his or her progress online, which is monitored only by the honor system. Registration is free.

Arp said Nautilus hopes to encourage other companies to take part in the challenge.

"Russ Dyer is an excellent customer who has transformed the sadness of losing his precious daughter into a positive program in her honor," Arp said via e-mail. Dyer said he hopes the new tactic will lead to more participation.

"On the corporate side, we’re dealing with thousands of workers," he said. "If an HR manager implements it within an organization, we’ll immediately have that many participants. It’s going to increase the numbers exponentially."