More than 500 Master Chong’s World Class Tae Kwon Do students and instructors broke more than 5,000 boards Saturday in this year’s fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation.
They raised $73,000 this year alone, adding to the more than $1 million raised by this event since it started 25 years ago.
The day is always quite a thrill for the spectators and participants alike.
“It feels so good to break a board,” pointed out one of the instructors, Kaitlyn Nowak, a third-degree black belt. “You feel so confident.”
Several News 4 reporters and anchors got that feeling for themselves this year during the Celebrity Board Breaking portion of the day at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.
Kelsey Anderson, Shannon Smith, Christy Kern, Melanie Orlins, Dave Greber, and Katie Alexander all punched, chopped, kicked, or elbowed their way through the pine boards, most of them without having any practice attempts beforehand.
“You know what, I have a big brother, so I’ve been training for this my entire life, so I wasn’t that nervous,” Anderson said.
“This was so nerve wracking to do this in front of everybody with no real practice!” Smith counterd. “But we did it!”
As our News 4 team found out, breaking the boards wasn’t exactly easy, but it was a lot of fun, and it did a lot of good in our community.
Andrew Bennett, vice president of the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation, says fundraising events like this one helped build the new Oishei Children’s Hospital.
“It’s absolutely incredible, the support. Our hospital is built by the community and for the community,” Bennett said.
“And to have an organization as widespread and as influential as Master Chong help us, over 500 students here today, means the world to us,” he added.
The work of those students to raise money for this year’s Kicking for Miracles event ensures no children are ever turned away from Oishei Children’s Hospital, regardless of their family’s ability to pay the bills.
“In fact, last year alone, we provided over two million dollars of free care,” Bennett said.
To continue that, Bennett says more donations are always needed, and more volunteers are always encouraged to get involved. To learn more about how you can help, click here.