The LCC gymnasium was rocking Saturday morning, February 27 when Lyle Endsley and Alexa Miller from Anytime Fitness entertained a healthy crowd during a basketball shoot-out charity event. DJ Old Skool spun great throwback tunes and Vince Kosa called play-by-play on the 93.1 The Fan, while the event pledge drive, 50/50 drawing and bake sale raised over $3000 for the #Addiestrong and #Allisonstrongforever charities.
Anytime Fitness owner Endsley organized the event along with marketing director Miller. “We’re having a charity shootout for two great charities,” Endsley said. Allison Bueller lost her battle with breast cancer on January 5, 2016. Addie Lawson continues her treatment for Meningitis at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“I knew the Lawson family from Travis (Addie’s father), who was our very first Anytime Fitness member,” Endsley said before the friendly competition started. “I knew his daughter Addie was going through some health issues down at Children’s Hospital. And Alexa knows the Allison Buehler family, so it was a natural that we decided to go with those two charities. And LCC has been so supportive and helpful, in letting us use the facilities here.”
Miller, a former scholarship basketball player at The University Of Northwest Ohio, said “I’m playing for Allison Buehler. She passed away a few months ago, but her family is here today. I knew Allison so this means a lot to me and her little boy Logan is here. He’s going to cheer me on.
“And Addison is battling it out at Children’s Hospital, but she showed up here today here too. We know the Lawson family so it means a lot to Lyle and I as well.”
To raise as much money as possible and make the shoot-out a fun community event, Endsley opted to plan a crowd-pleaser that was as much entertainment as sports competition. He said he last played one year of basketball in middle school, around “40 years ago,” while Miller was a four year starter, four year captain and holds the record for 3-point field goals at UNOH.
“I’ve been out of it for a couple years so I’m a little rusty today,” said Miller. “He’s been practicing. I haven’t.”
Endsley, apparently not quite feeling the confidence afforded by the extra practice time, said “The odds are against me. I’ve got to make it entertaining today. If we just went out and shot it’d a bit boring. We’re going to make it fun and humorous for sure!”
Accordingly, Endsley dressed as a 70s semi-pro basketball player that would have made Will Ferrell proud. Which had no effect on the outcome, as the sharpshooter who paid for her college education Miller carved Endsley up for a final score of 60-16.
Fortunately, regardless of the outcome of the competition, both charities stood to benefit from the day’s proceedings. Endley said “We appreciate everyone that came out. As far as I’m concerned, everyone’s a winner. Although, with my Jackie Moon outfit and my wig, I felt a little bit like Ronald McDonald.
“In fact my own mother, when she saw me, said ‘Is Lyle dressed up like a girl?’ I think Addie was a little bit embarrassed to be seen with me too,” he added with a grin.
“The money we’re raising today will be split between the two families,” Miller explained. “The money will go towards Allison’s family for her medical bills. And I know the Lawson family is going to donate back to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”
The spirit of giving continued into the afternoon, as Addie’s uncle Chad Lawson won the 50/50 drawing and donated his winnings back to the charity. Afterward, many in attendance headed to Lock 16, where 10% of the food purchased was donated to the event’s charities.
Addie’s father Travis Lawson said, “I think it’s just awesome what they do in the community, in helping out the families and the hospital. Wonderful!”
According to Endsley, Addie Lawson is progressing with her treatment for Meningitis, although she has more treatments to endure in the weeks ahead. “She’s not out of the woods yet. But she’s feeling well, getting better, getting stronger and we hope that she’s going to have a full recovery.”
“We feel like it’s our duty, being a local gym, to support local charities. That’s one thing that we really try to do each year,” Miller explained. “I came to Lima for a scholarship and I ended up staying here. I fell in love with the community.
“That’s our big driving force for today is bringing together the community and raising money for these two families. So I want to thank our members for coming out today. It’s been a great turnout!”
Cheering down a row from Addie Lawson and her family, two generations of the Rockhold family were part of the crowd of over 150 supporting the event.
“It’s just really encouraging to see a lot of people from the Lima area here, uniquely interested in supporting charities and this kind of event,” said Dennis Rockhold of Rockhold-Wentling Financial.
Rockhold wrote a check to The Heartland Image Foundation to create a complimentary video of the charity shoot-out, to celebrate the event long after the fundraising checks are given to Allison and Addie’s families.
“The neat part is that Lyle can put it on their facebook page and on their company website,” Rockhold said. “Lyle can take that to Anytime Fitness national and actually share what they’re doing for our community with the rest of the country.”
Jennifer Rockhold, Dennis’ daughter, is a recent college graduate who returned to Lima for a career in the medical industry. She summed up the spirit of the crowd on hand: “I grew up here, I was born here. I went away to college and then came back. It’s really great to see the community come together to support these two kids and their families. To come out on a Saturday and support a good cause.”