Food and fitness unite in the fight against ALS with a fundraiser this Sun. Nov. 17 

Motivated to move

Uptown Social’s Keith Benjamin and CHS Revolution’s Katie Penta are motivated to move for two special people who lost that ability after being diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that severely affects the control a person has over the muscles needed to move, speak, eat, and breathe.

Benjamin, who is part of the ownership group at the King Street hotspot, began attending Penta’s cycling classes shortly after moving to Charleston. “Katie would reference losing someone during some of her classes, and I eventually learned that she lost her mother Wanda to ALS. When I found out my dad Robert was diagnosed with the same disease a year ago, I didn’t really know who to turn to. Katie was the first person I reached out to, and we began discussing a way to grow awareness in our little community in Charleston.”

Penta explains that they wanted to organize an event promoting what you lose when diagnosed with ALS. The two enlisted the help of another CHS Revolution instructor, Gillian Zettler (she's also the executive director for Charleston Wine + Food fest), and they came up with an idea for an event focused on sweating and moving for those who can’t.

“I’ve found that the fitness community is tight-knit just like food and bev, so we decided to create something that no one has ever done before,” says Benjamin.

The event, which is called “Motivated to Move,” will take place this Sun. Nov. 17 starting at 7 a.m. And when they say participants will sweat, they mean it — the early morning will feature cycling from CHS Revolution, high intensity training from Exemplar Fitness, and yoga from The Works.

(While tickets to the fitness aspect of this event are sold out, you can still join in on the brunch held at Uptown after, tickets are $25. Learn more online).

Benjamin and Penta both explain that one main concern for families with someone suffering from ALS is money, as the care for the disease can get very expensive. With this in mind, the group landed on Compassionate Care ALS as the recipient of the proceeds from the event because of their mission to support those living with the disease.

All proceeds from the $100 ticket cost (just $25 if you're attending brunch) will go to the organization and with it, guests will receive a T-shirt, brunch, smoothies from Hustle Smoothie Bar, and two breakfast cocktails. Compassionate Care founder Ron Hoffman will be in attendance for the event, which has already raised $20,000 through ticket sales and donations.

Uptown Social is one of the go-to spots for a night out on the town, but this Sunday, Benjamin, Penta, and other passionate members of the food, beverage, and fitness community are excited to partake in a different kind of party in honor of this greater purpose.

According to Penta, “Keith and I are on a mission. My mom’s strength has motivated me to do something, and this Sunday is all about celebrating the fact that we are able to move.” 

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