A ‘Breakathon’ from the heart


By Sarah Hawley - Special to the Sentinel



Pictured is Bitanga’s instructor Cindy Bowling encouraging student Garrett Blackwood.

Pictured is Bitanga’s instructor Cindy Bowling encouraging student Garrett Blackwood.


Ben Nease | Courtesy

Bitanga’s Ben Nease with siblings Cord and Aggie Slone. This year’s Breakathon will support the health of area youth.


Ben Nease | Courtesy

Bitanga’s Ben Nease presenting Square One, represented by Ashley Durst, with a check for over $62,000 to support the organization which assists those dealing with domestic violence issues. Proceeds were raised during the 2020 edition of the Breakathon.


Ben Nease | Courtesy

The 2021 edition of Bitanga’s Breakathon aims to benefit the “heart” of the community — the youth and hopes to fund area heart screenings.


Ben Nease | Courtesy

Participants in the third annual Breakathon in 2019, took turns breaking board to benefit the local school band programs. Pictured is Ben Nease supporting a student.


OVP File Photo

MIDDLEPORT, Ohio — The 2021 edition of Bitanga’s Breakathon aims to benefit the “heart” of the community — the youth.

“This year our goal is to raise the necessary funds needed to provide free heart screenings for the area’s youth athletes on an annual basis,” explained Bitanga’s owner and Breakathon organizer Ben Nease. “Statistics suggest that 1 in 300 youth have an undetected heart condition that can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest.”

Since 2016, the Breakathon has raised $127,916 for local organizations and causes, including The Blakeslee Center, local school bands and Square One Domestic Violence Center. A total of more than $62,000 was raised in 2020 for Square One in what was themed “A Day of Hope.”

Nease has set a goal to surpass the 2020 fundraising efforts, in order to provide the heart screenings not just for one year, but for many years to come. The funds would go toward purchasing the screening equipment and needed items for the clinic. Additionally, funds could be used to purchase AED machines for local communities.

The screening clinics would be held in connection with the organization Who We Play For based in Florida. According to its website, Who We Play For has screened more than 100,000 people in communities across seven states, identifying 76 individuals who needed medical intervention.

Nease explained that the ECG test results would be sent to the organization and its medical partners to review. They would then contact those with medical concerns, and letters with the results would be mailed to those in which no issues are found.

“We want this to be our biggest year,” said Nease of the fundraising goal. “This will be able to save lives and create a wave of education in the community.”

The screenings will hopefully begin in the spring and be held annually. Screenings would be open to any youth regardless of where they reside.

“We hope people will see how simple the screening can be, but also how impactful it can be,” added Nease.

The Breakathon event will take place on November 6 at The Blakeslee Center in Middleport, and will include the traditional board breaking, craft show, drawings and contests and more. Business and individual sponsorships are also available.

Donations can be made in person that day, or to sponsor one of the youth competitors visit-thebreakathon.com. For more information visit the website or call 740-992-5715.

Watch the promotional video for this year’s event here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDsrji0b3e8.

© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Pictured is Bitanga’s instructor Cindy Bowling encouraging student Garrett Blackwood.
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/09/web1_9.4-Break-1-2.jpgPictured is Bitanga’s instructor Cindy Bowling encouraging student Garrett Blackwood. Ben Nease | Courtesy

Bitanga’s Ben Nease with siblings Cord and Aggie Slone. This year’s Breakathon will support the health of area youth.
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/09/web1_9.4-Break-2-2.jpgBitanga’s Ben Nease with siblings Cord and Aggie Slone. This year’s Breakathon will support the health of area youth. Ben Nease | Courtesy

Bitanga’s Ben Nease presenting Square One, represented by Ashley Durst, with a check for over $62,000 to support the organization which assists those dealing with domestic violence issues. Proceeds were raised during the 2020 edition of the Breakathon.
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/09/web1_9.4-Break-3-2.jpgBitanga’s Ben Nease presenting Square One, represented by Ashley Durst, with a check for over $62,000 to support the organization which assists those dealing with domestic violence issues. Proceeds were raised during the 2020 edition of the Breakathon. Ben Nease | Courtesy

The 2021 edition of Bitanga’s Breakathon aims to benefit the “heart” of the community — the youth and hopes to fund area heart screenings.
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/09/web1_9.4-break-logo-2.jpgThe 2021 edition of Bitanga’s Breakathon aims to benefit the “heart” of the community — the youth and hopes to fund area heart screenings. Ben Nease | Courtesy

Participants in the third annual Breakathon in 2019, took turns breaking board to benefit the local school band programs. Pictured is Ben Nease supporting a student.
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/09/web1_11.15-Breakathon-5.jpgParticipants in the third annual Breakathon in 2019, took turns breaking board to benefit the local school band programs. Pictured is Ben Nease supporting a student. OVP File Photo

By Sarah Hawley

Special to the Sentinel