A Message From Orange Theory Sarasota
On April 6th, our Orangetheory Downtown Sarasota studio lost one of our long-time amazing members, Jim Ninivaggi, due to heart surgery complications. We received word of his passing Saturday evening of the 6th, and it didn’t feel real at first, mainly since we just saw him a few weeks prior for what would have been his last workout with us. Jim’s passing shook our studio for both staff and members. As staff, we get dealt with having member’s relatives pass, but we never have had a direct member of ours pass. For members it was also tough because Jim and his amazing wife, Barbara, were always the two to invite members to their home in Downtown Sarasota to socialize outside of the studio. Barbara and Jim were the only two members that we could ever think of that went out of their way to host parties at their home for all to attend to get to know one another outside of working out. The bond that Barbara and Jim created amongst their favorite workout crew at 6:15am was inseparable. You see, Jim was most known for his contagious smile and laugh that echoed through our walls, and regardless of how difficult the workout was, Jim’s best quality would be the missing piece we would miss the most from our studio.
After Jim’s beautiful service on April 9th, which 30 of our members went to show our support and respect for Barbara and Jim, our Downtown Sarasota studio came together to figure a way to give back in Jim’s honor. Barbara mentioned her and Jim’s absolute love for the Sarasota waters, and she decided she would love for any donations received to be given to the Sarasota Bay Watch organization. This local non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving and restoring Sarasota Bay’s ecosystem through education and citizen participation. So, after two days of promoting our All Out for Jim event at our studio, we finally had the day come where members, non-members, and staff could donate any monetary amount in his honor. It was incredible to see the outpour of support and love shown to this event, and just within a few hours we saw the donations pile up. After only a 12-hour day of classes, we discovered that we raised $5,800 in Jim’s honor. From member’s coming to the studio left and right to drop off a donation, staff coming from all of our studios to show their support and our owner, Mark Flannagan, donating based on how many showed up for class that day (which was a lot), we could not believe what we achieved in just 12 hours. Once the event was over, we called Barbara to mention the great news of how much we raised, and she was overwhelmed with joy and emotion. We could not wait to hear what the Sarasota Bay Watch would do with the money.
So, here we are today, presenting a check to this wonderful organization in Jim’s honor. Jim’s passing has brought our studio together more than it ever has, for staff and members, and it has taught us, like Jim, to smile and laugh through every moment possible.