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Wish Blog

Mar 04, 2020

Granting Wishes With the Power of Zumba

For six years, Cindy and Marisa Stani of Fit Happenz, LLC have been bringing the community together to passionately raise money for local wish families through the power of dance.

This year is no different, as they are set to embark on the 7th Annual Zumbathon for Make-A-Wish, coming up April 18th – With more than $100,000 raised to grant transformational wishes, Zumba community members, led by Cindy and Marisa, are true stars of the Make-A-Wish mission. 

We sat down with the Stani duo to ask them what makes their hearts tick for Make-A-Wish, and why their love of dance is inspiring so much generosity. Get to know our Zumba stars and their devotion to wishes.



You are a mother-daughter duo that firmly believes in the power of dance. What made you want to take your love of dance and use it to give back to the community?

Dance inspires so many! Loving what we do and seeing how many lives we have touched through our passion makes us feel as though we can always do so much more. We strive to help our community always, and being able to touch so many lives is a wonderful feeling. What’s even better is knowing that through our efforts we are changing lives – it’s truly a GIFT!

Why do you choose Make-A-Wish time and time again as the beneficiary of your annual Zumbathon event?

Make-A-Wish has always had a special place in our hearts. We love the beauty and innocence of each child and family that we help. They may possibly only have one chance to live out their dream and we as a community can make that happen for them. Our hearts are full of love for wish children and their families. We believe in the power of hope and how it can take away pain and darkness. A wish equals hope and happiness.


Tell us one story about the Zumbathon for Make-A-Wish that you both hold close to your hearts. 

Truthfully, our very first Zumbathon! We were always researching for ways to help our community through our love and passion for Zumba. We planned our first Zumbathon with the hopes of helping to support one wish family. We knew that we would put in the necessary work to promote this event and make it a success, but when we walked out for the first time to dance with the crowd we were in tears! The outpouring of love that filled the room included hundreds of people, all passionate about dance and giving back. THIS is what made us want to keep going and make each year as successful as it can be. We know that the money we raise stays local, here in WNY, and there is always a strong need for upcoming wishes, so we continue to be motivated to do what we can. 


Why do you believe in the power of a wish for a child with a critical illness?

Children with critical illnesses endure many days where they are faced with many challenges. They are constantly reminded of their illness through doctor appointments, and other grueling experiences. It is exhausting, physically and mentally, not just for the child but their parents and siblings, as well as those who love them. To be able to help grant wishes gives children a goal and a positive reinforcement that takes them away from the dark cloud surrounding them.

What can people look forward to at this year’s Zumbathon for Make-A-Wish on April 18th?

We are very excited and looking forward to our new venue at St. Mary's High School in Lancaster. We are planning another themed event called "Higher Love" where we are focusing on the love of Zumba and of course the high energy compassion that we have for dance. We will have two hours of continuous Zumba music and dance, which includes ourselves and local Zumba instructors.  We are inviting anyone and everyone to come dance and feel the energy we bring for this cause. Whether you like to dance or just support the event itself, being there is a total experience.

We are also preparing an AMAZING basket auction, 50/50 and light snacks for this day. For a $15.00 donation, we provide a day of fun with every dollar donated back to Make-A-Wish WNY.


Fun Fact: Tell us your favorite song or songs to get the crowd pumped up at your events or in your classes.

Well, this year’s Zumbathon theme song, "Higher Love" is a favorite. We love it because we feel and KNOW there IS a higher love when you face the world and when you feel alone. There always is HOPE. We have many other favorites. There are so many unique genres that we dance to which makes every class and event unique. Experiencing a Zumbathon is a gift in itself - it's a feeling you can't describe unless you are there to enjoy it for yourself. Come see what it’s all about!

To attend the 7th Annual Zumbathon for Make-A-Wish, click here for ticket and event details.


Make-A-Wish is actively looking for fundraising support in the WNY region. Interested in hosting your own fundraiser in line with your passion? Reach out to us to learn more.

Buffalo community: Laura Nutty – or 716-810-9474 ext 4551

Rochester community: Melody Simmons – or 585-272-9474 ext 4564

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