Newton Zumbas for good cause

Area citizens will step, spin and sway tonight to raise funds for a Newton child who lost her mother to multiple brain aneurysms earlier this year.

The Perfect Workout expects at least 60 people to dance in a Zumbathon tonight at Abernethy Memorial United Methodist Church to raise money for the child of Nina Marie Leavitt Watkins, who passed away in June from multiple brain aneurysms.

Watkins was a member of The Perfect Workout and first felt sick while working out at the gym June 6, said Perfect Workout Owner Sharon Rashidi.

“She was having a really bad headache in the back of her head, and we got the doctor next door to come over,” Rashidi said. “She looked alright, and you never would have thought it was anything really serious.”

Rashidi said Watkins sat down in her office and became sick. After consulting the nearby doctor, Rashidi called an ambulance for Watkins, who then started to feel tingling in her arm.

Watkins then asked for someone to call her husband, Kristopher Watkins, who was in Italy on military assignment. Watkins was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center, doctors discovered a brain aneurysm. After a brain scan, doctors knew Watkins needed to receive treatment at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Rashidi said as Watkins was being airlifted to Winston-Salem, she had a second brain aneurysm. This time, the attack put Watkins in a coma.

Kristopher, who married Nina five months before, returned from Italy and had to make the decision to take his wife off life support. She passed away June 10.

Now, Nina’s daughter, Kara Poteet, is in the custody of her biological father, whom Watkins never married, Rashidi said. To help raise funds for Poteet, Rashidi organized the Zumbathon – something she said Nina enjoyed.

“She loved Zumba and did it a lot,” Rashidi said, adding that Nina last participated in Zumba during the Newton’s Mayfest celebration downtown. “I thought this would be a good way to raise money for the fund.”

The Zumbathon costs $5, and all the funds will be benefit the Kara Poteet Education Fund through First Citizens Bank. Attendees can enter a raffle for $1, which will also benefit the fund. If you can’t make it to the Zumbathon, Rashidi said donations can still be made to the education fund through First Citizens Bank.

“If they don’t want to dance, we still invite people to come and enjoy refreshments and the event,” Rashidi said, adding Nina’s daughter and her grandmother will attend the event.

What is Zumba

Rashidi said Zumba is a fusion of Latin dance that is put to American-style music.

“It’s dancing with some aerobics thrown in,” she said. “You’re having so much fun that you don’t realize how much you’re working out.”

She said Zumba is for everyone – both male and female. Her typical Zumba classes last 45 minutes to an hour, but the Zumbathon will be about two hours long. However, Rashidi said there will be breaks for raffle prizes and refreshments.

“It is for a good cause, and we invite everyone to come out,” she said. “The reason why I thought about it was because Nina loved doing Zumba.”