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Burn Calories, Raise Funds for Westport Nonprofit

WESTPORT, Conn. – Working out to keep yourself physically fit is great—working out to help children with serious illnesses is even better. During the second annual 24 Hours of Hope fundraiser organized by the Westport nonprofit Al's Angels, you can do both.

Founded in 2004 by Westport resident Al DiGuido, Al's Angels provides holiday meals and new toys to children in the tri-state area who suffer from cancer and rare blood diseases, and whose families are faced with great financial burdens.

"This year, we've added four hospitals in Long Island to the list of hospitals we will be providing food and toys to," said DiGuido. "We expect to be giving out 500 more meal bins and probably close to 6,000 toys."

As the organization continues to spread its reach, DiGuido said, the more it counts on help from people in the community. Last year, the group raised $100,000 during the inaugural 24 Hours of Hope. This year, the fundraising goal is $150,000.

"The extra money will definitely be needed to provide 500 more families with food and toys," he said.

During the event, participants sign up to work out for a certain number of hours and get people to sponsor each hour of their workout. This year, DiGuido said, participants will have a broader spectrum of exercises they can sign up for, including classes like zumba, yoga and spinning, and personal training.

This year's event is taking place at two locations: the Edge Fitness Club in Norwalk, 542 Westport Ave., and the Edge Fitness Club in Fairfield, 500 Kings Highway Cutoff. You don't have to be a member of either club to participate.

"Last year, we had about 250 participants. By having two locations this year, we're hoping to get between 400 and 500 people," DiGuido said.

For more information about 24 Hours of Hope or to register for the event, visit the 24 Hours of Hope Website .

To contact Vanessa Inzitari, send an email to vinzitari@thedailywestport.com.

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