Dance for Your Heart is Positively Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The music is pumping, and the energy is taking over.  Toni Blue Washington is throwing herself into a Zumba routine, remembering the moment when everything changed.

“I can only say by the grace of God I got through it,” she says.

In 2012, Washington’s husband Craig, the father of their two children, died from a massive heart attack.  He was only 38.  Craig had high blood pressure, but his passing was still a shock.

Craig Washington passed away when he was just 38.
Craig Washington passed away when he was just 38.

“I could either allow it to make my family crumble, or we could gain strength from it,”  Washington remembers.

A source of strength was Washington’s best friend, La Verne Burrus-Johnson.

“Through our conversation, we said let’s put together an event where everyone is happy, smiling,” Burrus-Johnson recalls.  “What can we do?”

Burrus-Johnson is a dancer and fitness studio owner.  Together they created Dance for Your Heart

“Dancing is a great way to stay active to be fit and just have fun,” says Burrus-Johnson.

That first year in 2014, their dancing raised $2,500 for the American Heart Association.  In 2015, $2,500 went to Comfort Zone Camp, which helps children dealing with a death.  This year the VCU Dance Team is involved, and the fundraiser is a halftime takeover at next week’s women’s basketball game.

“This is something that can help you and help others around you,” says Burrus-Johnson.

Everyone is invited to sign up to participate.  Washington knows Craig will be shining down on the group, as they turn grief into a good cause.

“I think he would be very proud,” Washington says.  “I think he’s smiling.”

Follow this link to sign up for the Zumba Halftime Takeover! Dance for Your Heart 3 event.  It is taking place Sunday, January 17 when the VCU Women’s basketball team takes on Davidson.  The game starts at 6pm at the Siegel Center.

A Kids Zumba Dance For Your Heart event will be hosted by iDanze Fitness Studio on February 21.

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