Conifer Jazzercise Hosts Cancer Fundraiser


Maya Dawson

High-energy songs keep dancers warm despite freezing temperatures

       It’s 8:00 on Sunday morning and fog rolls across the Conifer High football field. It’s barely thirty degrees, but pink leggings, socks, and sweatshirts penetrate the gloom as Conifer Jazzercise begins their 10th annual fundraiser to support the fight against breast cancer.

       “11 years ago my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t know how to help her, but I’ve been an instructor at Conifer Jazzercise and talked to the owner. We decided to do a fundraiser,” Jodi Dolph, the event’s main sponsor said.

       The event only grew in importance as it became an annual tradition for the studio.

       “One of our instructors, three years ago, battled breast cancer and she taught classes throughout her chemotherapy, so it became even more personal to me,” Jazzercise studio owner Aimee Pless said.

       Ten years after its humble beginnings the event has grown to enormous proportions. This year the studio raised over $1,700 for the Coleman cancer foundation, and for the first time ever expanded their focus to donate $900 to Resilience 1220, an organization that provides free counseling for youth in the mountain area.

       “This year we added a mental health aspect because it’s been such a hard year,” Pless said. 

       Despite difficulties presented by COVID-19, the event was still wildly successful. While some attendees danced on the football field others joined from their homes via Zoom.

       “We really adjusted. We usually do this event in our studio, and this year we were like ‘we’re still gonna do it. We’re gonna do it outside’.  We couldn’t have asked for anything better, actually,” Dolph said.

       The event served as a rallying cry for those assembled, assuring those who have faced or are facing breast cancer that they are not alone.

       “I thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate how far I’ve come and all the people who have gone through the same things,” breast cancer survivor Allison Barker said.

       In the midst of a global pandemic it is all too easy to feel powerless, but Conifer Jazzercise used this fundraiser as an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the community.

       “We are really excited to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” Dolph said. “Today we can do something positive and take action.”