Local business owner Jessica Bessette is hosting fundraisers at her newly opened fitness center to assist a Warwick family in need during the holidays.
After the husband of one of her yoga instructors was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, she decided to help by planning two “Spin-A-Thons,” the first set for Nov. 17, and a second on Dec. 15.
“I told her and she cried,” Bessette said of her friend and co-worker. “I just want to pay it forward. He can’t work for six months or longer, and is in the ICU right now.”
The man involved in the crash has six fractured vertebrate, a broken femur, a broken kneecap and torn ligaments around his knee. He also broke both ankles and his left arm.
To make matters worse, he doesn’t have medical insurance.
“He’s lucky he’s alive,” said Bessette, pointing out that the couple has two children. “I want to help out as much as I can. From now until right before Thanksgiving, I’m collecting food and gift certificates, and then I’m going to do the Spin-A-Thon.”
The events will begin on their respective dates at 9 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m. at Feel the Burn Fitness, which is located at 2765 Post Road. Participants have the option to do the full two hours, or choose from two time segments, including 9 to 10 or 10 to 11 a.m. Either way, there is a $20 minimum donation.
“It will go all to her,” Bessette said, who opened Feel the Burn Fitness on Oct. 5.
Bessette, who lives in Warwick with her husband Edward and three sons, said she has been passionate about working out for at least 14 or 15 years. She started teaching spin classes at various fitness centers about four years ago after staff members at her former gym suggested she teach classes at the facility.
“They said, ‘You know exactly what you’re doing. Why don’t you become a spin instructor and work here?’” said Bessette, who took courses to became a certified instructor. “More and more people were in my spin class and people were on the waiting list. Clients were asking me, ‘Can you train me?’ So, I decided to become a personal trainer and it took off because everybody liked the way I made them feel.”
Spin is a 45-minute or an hour-long workout on a stationary bike. Each session includes uphill training, resistance work, sprints, and more.
“You burn about 1,000 calories in an hour,” she said.
Working out, said Bessette, has many positive benefits aside from staying fit. It helps reduce stress, build confidence, self-esteem, and happiness. It’s also a positive and healthier alternative to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, as one of her clients recently stopped taking anti-depressants because she naturally boosted her endorphins through exercising.
“I don’t like it when people feel down about themselves,” said Bessette. “Mainly, people feel bad about themselves when they are overweight. The other issue is childhood obesity. I have a few clients who have children that are overweight, so they are going to have them start coming to the gym.”
Keeping her own children in shape is also a passion for Bessette. She prepares healthy meals for them every day, avoids buying junk food and encourages them to stay active, including her 3-year-old, Michael.
“My oldest son [Kyle Cooney, 18, a student at CCRI] goes to the gym every day, and my 14-year-old [Sean Cooney, 14, a freshman at Toll Gate] plays football for the Toll Gate Titans,” she said. “He’s very athletic.”
As if being a business owner and mother of three boys isn’t enough, Bessette is also the manager at Salon Rêve, located next to the fitness center at 2767 Post Road. Not only does she help people stay fit, she styles hair, giving them the opportunity to look and feel their best.
“I make people feel good about themselves,” she said, noting that the salon offers services for hair, nails, skin and spray tanning. “Some of my hair clients don’t come to the studio, but the salon is collecting donations from all clients.”
In December, Bessette, who graduated from Costin’s Warwick Beauty Academy in 1999, will donate $5 from every hair appointment at the salon toward the cause. Salon owner Jamie Bookbinder, who said they also donate 10 percent of proceeds from haircuts to the American Cancer Society in October, thinks it’s great that Bessette is helping a friend in need.
“It’s fabulous,” she said.
She went on to say that the salon frequently hosts fundraisers. About a year ago, they raised $5,000 worth of raffle prizes in honor of a little girl who had a fatal disease.
Bessette’s husband Edward is proud of his wife’s efforts. It doesn’t surprise him that she organized the “Spin-A-Thon.”
“Jessica is one of the most kindhearted women I have ever known,” he said. “She has always been the first one to give even when she didn’t have. That is one of the many reasons why I love her.”
To make a donation, as well as sign up for the “Spin-A-Thon,” contact Bessette at email@example.com or call her at 580-4002.
“I want to collect everything by the 17th so she can go shopping,” Bessette said of her friend. “If I can help her, I’ll do whatever I can. She’s a good person.”
Find Feel the Burn Fitness, as well as Salon Rêve, on Facebook to learn more information about various services and business hours.