Getting Hot and Sweaty in the Fitness Center So People Can Heat Their Homes

13 Feb

Running buddies: Vesna Temelkovski, right, and Rachael Smith

Keeping the lights on is a challenge for many low-income people in Michigan.

But 30 Compuware employees participated in The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) Treadmill Challenge January 27 to help make a difference in their lives.

The event, held at the Wellness Center, helped raise money for Detroit-based THAW, a nonprofit which provides emergency energy assistance to those who cannot pay their utility bills and face a shut-off.

Compuware, in its fifth year participating, raised $7,344 for the organization.

“It is so nice that the Compuware employees are so supportive year after year,” said Rose Sarti, special events coordinator for THAW. “We don’t need to beg them to get involved; they just do it because they support the cause.”

Vesna Temelkovski, a financial analyst, ran on the treadmill for the fifth year and raised the most money among Compuware employees: $1,400.

“I have an amazing network of colleagues, family and friends who support me and the cause,” she said.

“Laura Fournier, the chief financial officer, is my biggest cheerleader, and she always makes a generous contribution for the organization.”

Participating in the Treadmill Challenge is rewarding for Temelkovski.

“Running is one of my passions,” she said. “I am able to blend my love of running with helping those who are struggling with their utilities. It makes me feel I’m able to help out…even just a little.”

Bob Jakes, a quality assurance analyst, celebrated his 65th birthday by raising the second most funds: $1,210.

He “survived” a one hour bike ride to help those “who cannot afford paying their heating bills, which is very important in these economic times.”

Sarti emphasizes the precarious situation facing many impoverished people.
“There are many state and federal cuts that are taking place within the low-income community, so the need is growing,” she said. “Every dollar that comes into THAW helps the families that are in need.”

The Treadmill Challenge is an ancillary event to WWJ Newsradio 950′s 31-hour radiothon for THAW, which has raised $370,000 to date. The utility companies match dollar for dollar all monies raised, including funds collected in the Treadmill Challenge.