People packed into Orange Theory Fitness of Lubbock this week to break a sweat with an extra purpose. They are participating in the gym’s first Penny Burn competition, for every calorie they burn, Orange Theory will donate a penny towards the medical expenses of 10 year old Luke Siegel.
Luke has been on the hearts of many people around the South Plains for the past year. A golf cart accident almost a year ago left him with brain damage and very limited physical mobility. His family’s lives are oriented around his many medical appointments
Fitness and sports have always been a big part of the Siegel family, and Tim explained that Orange Theory has been an important part in how his wife Jenny relieves some of her stress. Jenny and her family inspired the employees at Orange Theory to start a Penny Burn challenge there.
“We’re aware of everything they were going through with their son, and our hearts just went out to them. We thought how can we help them out? Let’s do a Penny Burn competition where we see those calories jump up to 11 thousand 12 thousand,” explained Brian Valigura, the head trainer at Orange Theory. “If we could turn that into a fundraiser and we could do something fun for our members and it benefits someone, that would be something we’d really like to do.”
Orange Theory hopes to raise $4,000 with the competition. Valigura explained that those calories can add up, at an hour long workout women typically burn 400 to 600 calories and men can burn over 1,000 calories. He’s been impressed to see new customers who’ve showed up to classes just to support the Siegel family.
“It’s really cool to see the community coming in here to just help soemone out,” he said.
It’s the first time Orange Theory of Lubbock has done a fundraiser like this. Orange Theory said anyone is welcome, whether they consider themselves an athlete or haven’t worked out in years.
Tim Siegel, Luke’s father, said that he and his family are very appreciative of Orange Theory’s support. Tim explained that since the fall of 2015, many community members have reached out to support Luke’s medical fund and to extend love to their family.
“From the golf tournament to the upcoming tennis tournament to all the restaurants in town the community support– I could go on and on about how much we appreciate what Lubbock has done and what the community means to us. ” Tim said. ” And this [Orange Theory fundraiser] is just another incredible example of how people really care and we appreciate it.”
While the patrons at Orange Theory break a sweat, Luke has been getting some major workouts as well. He works regualrly with therapist to begin moving some of his muscles again. Recently he’s made progress in swallowing, moving his cheek muscles, moving his hands and his torso.
While Luke has made a great deal of progress, the upcoming anniversary of his accident has been on his family’s minds.
“We’re all aware what next week is, I’m not sure how we’ll handle it, I don’t know, I think its gonna be a hard day for sure,” Tim said.
But the community support and prayers are reassuring to the Siegel family as they handle the road ahead for Luke.
“The ‘Pray for Luke’ Facebook page has blown up a lot the last few days because Luke has been moving his trunk and been moving his hands really well, he’s certainly more vocal, and he’s swallowing better,” Tim explained. “There’s no question there’s been progress. I always go back to September 15th when we were told there wouldn’t be any [progress] and he’s proving that determination and prayer get you to where you want to be. We’re really thankful for the progress and just hope for more.”
The Orange Theory Fundraiser continues through July 24th at the Orange Theory gym in Lubbock at 5214 98th street. Each first-time guest gets a free class.