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Merrillville gym hoping to lift up Special Olympics with fundraiser

Merrillville gym hoping to lift up Special Olympics with fundraiser

Merrillville gym hoping to lift up Special Olympics with fundraiser

Anytime Fitness in Merrillville is planning a fundraiser for Special Olympics.

MERRILLVILLE — Gyms have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Anytime Fitness West in Merrillville still is hoping to lift up the Lake County chapter of Special Olympics Indiana with a weeklong fundraiser.

The gym at 8119 Taft St. will host Special Olympic athletes along with the Lake County Flames Powerlifting Team for a workout and fundraising event at 2 p.m. Sunday. Burn for a Cause will include a weeklong fitness competition at the gym and a raffle with prizes from local restaurants, Fleet Feet Schererville, and Billy O's Dynamic Music in Griffith, which donated an Ibanez ALT30-IBB guitar.

Anytime Fitness partnered with the Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Council #10811 for the fundraiser, which is selling raffle tickets for $2 each.

Jay Kelley, of the Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Council #10811, said the event will help make up for the cancellation of a firetruck-pull fundraiser the Knights had intended to hold. The much larger firetruck-pull event was scheduled for October but canceled because of uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and potential continuing state restrictions.

Organizers instead came up with the ideas of a raffle and "hell week" at Anytime Fitness Merrillville West in which gym goers perform as many repetitions as they can in a minute of seven different strength exercises, with the winner getting a $100 cash prize and a swag bag. Registration is $20 and includes a T-shirt, with the donation going to Lake County Special Olympics. 

Participants can compete anytime during staffed hours from the week of Aug. 30 through Sept. 5.

“We are so excited to step up and help raise money for these athletes and their mentors. It’s such a great cause, and to tie it in to the fitness competition that we do every year just made sense,” said Jennifer Crunk, facility manager of Anytime Fitness Merrillville.

The Special Olympic athletes will be cheered on and coached by Indiana state troopers during their workout, which will be live-streamed on YouTube and social media.

“The kids are super excited to be able to work out in a new place, especially after not being able to for so long during the shutdown of everything," said Teresa Parker, the Lake County coordinator for Special Olympics. "And we are so honored that the troopers will be there. It has been incredible working with Anytime Fitness and the Knights of Columbus.”

For more information or raffle tickets, visit or go to the gym in person.


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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