Being served a smoothie by a bicycle-riding Bruce Springsteen might sound like something out of super-fan’s dream, but employees at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Janesville brought that rock ‘n’ roll fantasy to life Wednesday for a good cause.

Eight staffers took turns riding a bicycle-powered blender to make smoothies they sold to raise money for their Bert Blain Memorial Heart Walk team, which benefits the American Heart Association.

Vice President of Operations Eric Thornton churned out more than 30 of the 226 smoothies sold at the hospital from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, SSM Health spokesperson Kathryn Scott said. The group raised $1,834.

St. Mary’s has participated in the Blain Memorial Health Walk since the hospital opened in 2012, Thornton said.

This year, the hospital hopes to raise a total of $16,000 for the American Heart Association and have at least 100 walkers participate on its fundraising team, Scott said.

Donations have increased steadily over the years, with $12,500 raised in 2015 and $13,000 raised in 2016, she said.

“Every year it seems like we do more and more fundraising. The heart association is obviously an important cause to us. We do everything we can to promote healthy living, and this goes right along with that,” Thornton said.

This year’s heart walk will be Aug. 27 at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville.

The hospital has two more fundraising events scheduled prior to that, Scott said.

The next one will be a cutest pet photo contest the week of July 10, followed by gift basket raffles the week of Aug. 21, Scott said.

“We are a community hospital, so engaging in the community is important to us,” Thornton said.

During Wednesday’s fundraiser, team members took donations in exchange for smoothies as they pedaled to the beat of rock music.

“Everybody wants to be the one who sells the most smoothies,” Thornton said.

The fundraiser is an opportunity for friendly competition, with bragging rights going to the winner, Scott said.

After seeing how many staff members dressed up for the event last year, organizers decided to create a theme and chose rock ‘n’ roll because it was “fun” and easy to dress up for, Scott said.

Each rider chose a decade in rock ‘n’ roll history for his or her half-hour slot, spanning from the 1950s to now.

Thornton took his outfit inspiration from Bachman Turner Overdrive and was identified on the leaderboard as Eric “Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” Thornton, taking his nickname from one of the group’s most recognizable songs.

Mike “Born in the U.S.A.” Kemper rode after Thornton and blended his smoothies with a Springsteen-inspired performance and headband.

Reporter - Albany, Brodhead, Evansville, Footville, Orfordville, health

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse