Charity bench press competition to raise money for Healing Strides

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 10:08 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - For 31 years, Healing Strides has helped countless people overcome challenges through equine therapy.

“We have 65 distinct disabilities, diagnoses that we serve, and then you’ve got everything in between that. From autism, that’s our largest population, then veterans is our second largest population,” said Carol Young, CEO of Healing Strides.

Each person, young or old, is helped with mental or physical challenges through a special connection with the horses.

“Horses bring to us this great ability to really see who we are. There’s no judgment; they are present in the moment with us and so you can’t fool a horse,” said Young.

Gold’s Gym North Roanoke wants to help Healing Strides continue its everyday mission. Nov. 13, the gym is hosting a charity bench press competition. The entry fees and donations will all go to Healing Strides.

“We want them to come out and see that our gym is not just a place where you pay your monthly dues and you work out specifically, we want to give back to the community, and this is one way that we’re deciding to do it,” said Jay Boudreaux, general manager of Gold’s Gym North Roanoke.

Healing Strides is serving around 175 people a week and support like this is how they are able to continue this work.

“That awareness piece, of getting the word out to the community, is vital for us. That’s what will keep us going in the long run,” said Young.

For those wanting to support Healing Strides, entry fees are $15 for members and $30 for non-members. Even if you aren’t competing, you can still donate. Businesses are also encouraged to donate, with certain amount in donations getting them free advertising inside the gym for a couple months.

Registration for the event ends Nov. 5; it’s open to all ages and will be done through weight classes. First place gets a trophy and second place will get a medal. For more information, contact Boudreaux at