When tragedy strikes, we are all faced with a choice - we can keep the lemons or make lemonade. Fortunately, Lesa Gutenkunst chose the latter path.
When her then 2-year-old daughter Bobbi-Lynn was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer and six months later her father announced he also had cancer, Gutenkunst was shaken to her core. She relied on the help of a community in California where she lived at the time to help her cope.
After their deaths, she and her husband moved to Lake Country where her husband grew up. She opened Lakeside Fitness Fit Body Boot Camp in Hartland. Thanks to Gutenkunst's leadership, the membership-based fitness center has not only been financially successful, it has been able to give back to the community.
"I'm a strong believer that everyone who comes into our lives may be part of our mission, and we, a part of theirs," she said. "This is why I have made it my mission to make a difference in people's lives by bringing an awareness of health and fitness …."
"I feel the same responsibility towards my clients as I do with my community and neighborhood, which is why I try to get involved and contribute locally whenever possible," she adds.
Lakeside Fitness FBBC has been a corporate contributor to LifeStriders Therapeutic Riding Center, the Heartland Food Pantry and Lake Country Caring, a drop off location for Souls for Jesus, a national nonprofit that sends gently worn shoes to Third World countries.
Not every charitable action is financial. Gutenkunst has asked her members to donate two hours of their time to serve breakfast at Hope Center's Outreach Meal Program, a nonprofit serving the basic needs in Waukesha County for the past 20 years.
Lakeside is one of the gyms across the country that partners with Sweat Angels, an online platform that has members checking in to their gym on Facebook, which then translates into donations for various causes.
Gutenkunst is proof that you don't need to be a millionaire to do good. Her mantra? "Find where your heart is and find out what drives you," she says. "Then follow your heart."