Fitness fundraiser to support breast cancer survivor rescheduled

Dawn Buzzell

Dave GorgonRiverview Register

When a planned fitness fundraiser to support a breast cancer patient was cancelled near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, her friends were not deterred. They simply rescheduled the event for a new date at a different place.

The Fitness Marathon Fundraiser for Wyandotte resident Dawn Buzzell is now scheduled for Sunday, July 26, at the Sheridan Center Open-Air Pavilion at Taylor’s Heritage Park, 12111 Pardee Road.

The original date, March 22, was postponed due to the coronavirus. The original location, the Copeland Center in Wyandotte, remained closed when the event was rescheduled.

All proceeds will benefit Buzzell, a single mother and grandmother who has undergone a double mastectomy, has faced numerous follow-up procedures, has a lengthy recovery period ahead and has been off work.

Karen Poljanac, a certified group fitness instructor at Exersthetic Evolution in Wyandotte, organized the marathon as a way to raise funds for Buzzell, who is one of her students, and as a way for members of the fitness community to come together for one of their own.

The day’s agenda will feature three different exercise classes presented by certified instructors, a silent raffle, a 50/50 raffle and a light lunch served by Norman Catering and Events.

Admission is a $25 minimum donation (cash only), whether the participant takes one class or all three classes. Fundraiser packets are available upon request. Donations can be made via cash or PayPal by email to

Registration is scheduled for 11 to 11:55 a.m. “Get Your Booty Shaken Warm Up with No Impact” will be taught by Mikki Garcia from noon to 12:45 p.m. Cardio-Kickboxing will be taught by Poljanac from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Low-Impact/Body Weight & Cool Down will be led by Melissa Kokay from 2 to 2:45 p.m.

Lunch and raffles are set for 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. DJ services will be provided by Brian Wagner.

Poljanac said the event is open to the public and the classes are geared to all fitness levels. Fruit and bottled water will be provided throughout the workouts. Bringing a yoga mat and towel is suggested. The top three fundraisers will receive prizes.

“This is one way I knew I could help a friend, said Poljanac, a well-known and respected 33-year trainer throughout the Downriver area. “Dawn is a good person. It’s going to be a struggle for her.”

She explained Buzzell has had extensive surgeries and has faced several unexpected additional hospitalizations for complications since, plus a week’s inpatient hospital stay for complications since her original double mastectomy. She was hit by expensive out-of-pocket co-payments along the way.

“Another surgery is scheduled for July 31 with one more after that if all goes well,” Poljanac said. “Her prognosis is good, though she has had many setbacks, which means she could not return to work when she had expected and will be off again for weeks after the July scheduled surgery.”

All proceeds benefit Buzzell. For more information on the Fitness Marathon Fundraiser, contact Karen Poljanac at (734) 771-8357.