Breaking a Guinness record, benefiting Coughlin’s Jay Fund

From’s Teresa Stepzinki:

PONTE VEDRA BEACH | One minute. Just 60 seconds. Doesn’t sound like much. Unless of course you are trying to set a world record involving pushups. Then, it can seem like an eternity.

Cheered on by family and friends, about 50 Northeast Florida residents Sunday took the challenge of “Pushups for a Purpose” to raise money for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, which helps families battling pediatric cancer. The nonprofit helps families battling childhood cancer with financial, emotional and practical support.

Hosted by Training for Warriors Ponte Vedra Beach fitness center and its affiliates worldwide, the event also was an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most people doing pushups around the world at the exact same minute in time.

At 12:31 p.m. Sunday, the Ponte Vedra Beach participants along with their counterparts at Training for Warriors center in 35 states, Puerto Rico and 30 countries did pushups for exactly one minute. For every pushup completed, $1 was donated to the Jay Fund. Many of the Ponte Vedra Beach participants donated additional money out of their own pocket or by collecting matching pledges from friends, family and co-workers. People also could donate without doing any pushups.

Cancer survivor Marissa Ierna, the Jay Fund #GoGold Initiative ambassador, was among those cheering on the pushup participants. Ierna was diagnosed on May 24, 2012, just two weeks before her high school graduation, with Stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer. Her treatment included chemotherapy and photon therapy, On July 10, the University of North Florida sophomore reached her one-year cancer-free mark.

“I just want to thank all of you for being out here and doing this. I know pushups aren’t my favorite exercise. Even though it was hard and tough, but let me tell you going through cancer is not any easier. And knowing we have support from people in our local community, especially as the Jay Fund does give to the local hospital, and all my lovely friends. We really, really appreciate it,” Ierna said.

When the minute was up, Chris Wayne of the Jay Fund congratulated the pushup participants for their achievement.

“What you’ve really done, is you’ve told the world that you can reach out and help families tackle childhood cancer. That is what we do. And that is what you’ve done today, big time,” Wayne said.

The event’s goal was to raise at least $100,000. Nearly $10,000 in combined donations from all the pushup event sites had come in by the time the pushups began.

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