Chautauqua County is 328 pounds lighter

On the second weekend of March 2014, 143 brave people came to the Clarion Hotel Lobby and allowed themselves to be weighed in for a unique community weight loss challenge. They even gladly handed over the $10 entry fee to do so. Ten weeks later Chautauqua County weighed 328 pounds less than it had in March.

Lighten Up Dunkirk-Fredonia was a weight loss challenge designed to inspire local residents to lose weight before the summer season brought on the shorts and bathing suits that so many dread to try on each year. The unique part of the challenge was that all entry fee money was donated to the American Cancer Society through Northern Chautauqua County Relay for Life. The Lighten Up Dunkirk-Fredonia Challenge made a donation of $1,430 to benefit cancer research.

The participants in the challenge were competing for prizes that included the top prize of a $500 TJ Maxx gift certificate, free gym memberships, free Zumba classes, gift cards to local businesses and many other prizes. Local businesses and community members donated all the prizes.

On Memorial Day weekend (weigh out weekend) 30 of those 143 returned to weigh out. But those 30 people managed a combined weight loss of 328 pounds. Way to go everyone who gave it a valiant effort to lose some weight and get healthy.

Winners of the contest and prizes won are: Over 40 (and Grand Prize Winner): Tom Duckett, with a total weight loss of 12.7 percent, $500 gift certificate to TJ Maxx; Under 40: Levi Swanson, with a total weight loss of 9.2 percent, $150 gift certificate to TJ Maxx; Shari Lin Pfleuger, 11.5 percent , one year membership to Darwins, Jean Surma, 9.4 percent, one-month membership to Chautauqua Health and Fitness, plus a certificate for a one-hour massage or reflexology from Integrative Massage and Wellness; Judy Langworthy, 8.7 percent, one-month membership to Chautauqua Health and Fitness; Karen Shrader, 7.9 percent, one-month membership to Chautauqua Health and Fitness; Karen Smith, 7.7 percent, one-month membership to Chautauqua Health and Fitness; Andrea Cooper, 7.6 percent, one-month membership to Chautauqua Health and Fitness; Denise Lopez, 7.5 percent, 10 free Zumba classes with Katie Pucci Schaefer; Kathleen Hobbs, 7 percent, $25 gift certificate to GNC; Sheryl Mays, 6.5 percent $25 gift certificate to GNC; Bonnie Pilski, 6.25 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Eileen Dunn, 5.8 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Maryanne Panfil, 5.6 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Pam Benchley, 5.3 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Kathy Kaczor, 5 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Carol Perkins, 4.5 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Joseph Allison, 4.4 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; David Felt, 4.3 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Jeannine Van Wey, 4.2 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; Casey Seidel, 4.1 percent, five Free Zumba Classes with MNM Zumba; and Cheryl Paluck, 4 percent, Zumba T-shirt courtesy of Zumba with Katie PS.

The committee thanks everyone who participated and helped out with the challenge. The following businesses generously donated prizes and support: Jason L. Schmidt, Esq., Attorney at Law, Clarion Hotel, DFT Communications, Chautauqua Health and Fitness, MNM Zumba, Lakeside Precision, Inc., Star News Daily, Integrative Massage and Wellness, Zumba with Katie PS and Dr. Jessica Mierzwa, Chiropractor.