A little girl in Richmond is recovering from horrific injuries she sustained in a lawnmower accident earlier this year, and when Anytime Fitness sponsored a 5k event in Richmond this last Saturday Isabella “Izzy” Smith was in everyone’s minds.
The 6-year-old was accidentally run over by a lawnmower when she ran outside and while this bright-eyed young lady blames no one for the terrible mishap, runners including dozens of National Guard members did their part on Saturday morning to make sure she and her family have the support they need.
The situation is nothing new to Excelsior Springs, where the owners of Anytime Fitness here, in Richmond and in Chillicothe often choose a cause to support for their events. For instance, brothers Rob and Mark Harmon and Rob’s wife, Jessica, have decided proceeds from their events at Waterfest will benefit the Excelsior Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and the Excelsior Springs Education Foundation.
“I believe that we all have a commitment to our community,” Mark Harmon explained. Business people, community leaders or just residents, he said, should work to improve where they live.
“God makes us who we are, and in turn it is up to us to make our communities a reflection of this,” Harmon added. “Every person has a calling to serve their community and our calling is through our business, which is fitness. Through fitness we are able to promote our business while raising money for those who need help.”
Many times, such as in the case of Izzy Smith or, here in Excelsior Springs, the late Kori Quinn, the causes chosen by Anytime Fitness involve young people with medical challenges.
“My reasons for choosing the causes I support are simple: Children deserve to be treated like children,” Harmon said. “Most of the focus of my efforts are toward either helping children with injuries and/or illnesses, or helping those battle cancer. Having had childhood leukemia, and watching many of the children that I was with at Children’s Mercy Hospital die from cancer while I survived, weighs on me every day of my life. I believe that God saved my life so that I would help others.”
Harmon takes this responsibility very seriously.
“It is my obligation and calling,” he explained. “A lot of people at the hospital and family members sacrificed much so I could have a chance at life and since I did survive, I owe them much more. There is a fire inside of me that will never go out and it burns hotter when I hear of people, especially children, that need help. I have no choice but to help them.”
And he just so happens to be in a position to lend a hand. Anytime Fitness is more than just a gym—they have expanded outward into the community by organizing running clubs, bodybuilding competitions, weightlifting events like Waterfest’s Strongest Man contest and, of course, frequent 5k runs and walks.
And by organizing these events, Harmon said, he is able to give people with helpful hearts a direction for their charitable spirits.
“I believe that deep down every person is good and has a calling to help others,” Harmon said. “They just need a little help seeing that sometimes. The amount of support that we receive when we do these fundraisers is overwhelmingly powerful. People come from all over to donate time, money and support.”
And to the Harmons and Anytime Fitness, these types of health and vitality oriented events are a perfect fit for their mission.
“Transitioning this into the business of fitness is simple: People want to better their lives through fitness, but they just do not know how,” Harmon said. “This is what we do everyday at Anytime Fitness, we help people better their lives through fitness and nutrition. There is no greater feeling than seeing someone succeed at their fitness goal or to see someone volunteer for the first time at a fundraiser. To see the spark in a person’s eye when they see that what they do with their life matters and can improve the life of someone else is magic. This principle is important to me in the communities where I do business because the people of the communities want and need a business to step up and lead…my family puts all of their heart into the business and the community.”
By Eric Copeland • firstname.lastname@example.org