8th Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser hosted by Twirly Girls Pole Fitness


Note from Lori: When I started Twirly Girls in December of 2009, a group of friends were scheduled to come with me. Everyone backed out, except one — and that was Rita.  I met Rita a couple of years before, not long after she’d had her third kidney transplant.  We have certainly enjoyed many adventures together over the years and I wanted to share a little bit about her story to help people understand why Twirly Girls hosts the Lovely Rita fundraiser every year.

This is Rita’s story, in her own words, modified from a speech she gave for the National Kidney Foundation:

Tenacity: the quality or fact of being very determined; continuing to exist; persistence.

I would ask that you keep this word in mind for the next several minutes.

Hello, my name is Rita Pearson. I am a three-time kidney transplant recipient. Today I am here to tell my story of life with kidney disease. This journey began 40 years ago as an 11 year old girl from Reno Nevada who liked to play outside, ride bikes, play kickball and twirl on the “monkey bars.”  You would call my family “outdoorsy”,  with the Sierra Nevadas as our back drop, who wouldn’t be?  On one of many trips in the mountains my fath28572_10150192164325386_1092904_ner fell and sprained his ankle.  It became very swollen.  That night, when he and I were talking, he stuck his swollen leg out and I placed my leg next to his.  I remember saying “Look.  My leg is swollen too.” My very worried mother took me to the doctor the next day. This was the first of many doctor visits, and lab tests that would become a staple in my life.  I think I have personally helped many doctors pay back their student loans.

15181571_10157663046430386_1705810351766816609_nThe final result was a diagnosis of Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis. These are very long words for an 11-year-old girl and her worried mom. I was put on alternating high dosages of prednisone and high blood pressure medication and sent home.  My poor mom.  Can you imagine?  Adolescence, hormones and prednisone. I gained a round face, mood swings and a sense of not being right or just different.  A low immune system kept me away from people. I became withdrawn and lost.  Kidney disease does that. It isolates you.  Anyone with kidney disease must find inner strength to make sure they are not left behind and are included in life.  Somehow, through sheer determination, my mom and I survived and I made it through high school.  From there, college.  I am the first of my family to graduate college.  It is here I met my husband, David.  One thing led to another and we have been married for 25 years.  It was during my first year of marriage I was to start dialysis.  However, I was very fortunate.  On the day I was to have the fistula installed I received my first miracle call.  A cadaver kidney was waiting.  Get here quick.  I was 26 years old and a young, professional woman.  I wanted a normal life.  I wanted to be a mom.

Prior to my first transplant, I had been told I could not have children and even if I one day could, it was not recommended.

Surprisingly, three years after my first transplant I was told that I could have a child. I would need to be at least three years post-transplant and healthy. My husband and I waited the required time. Once again, persistence, patience. I became a mom to a smart, beautiful girl. We call her Kate. She is now attending St. Mary’s College and is spending this school year in Italy. Despite the obstacles, this dream came true.16298822_10158034218900386_9016536943024915798_n

I then went back to a normal life as a transplant patient, mom, wife and professional. However, in 2002 my transplant failed and I was again forced to decide the type of dialysis to undertake. I chose hemodialysis so that I would be at home with my family. I continued to work while doing dialysis four times per day. It was horribly physically and emotionally draining experience but I and my family soldiered on. During this time, we tested my husband on a lark and found out that he was actually a perfect match for me. While he was going through all of the hoops to donate, a second cadaver kidney became available. We, of course, jumped on the opportunity.

Once again, back to normal life. However, this kidney never really took and in 2007 or so, it failed. This time, I opted for peritoneal dialysis three times per week. No one should ever have to live this daily or weekly torture. But the third time is the magic number and on June 20, 2008, while celebrating my husband’s birthday, we were called about a cadaver kidney and on June 21, I received my third transplant.

And as we say life goes on and here we are today eight years later.


I have been asked many times what is it like to have a lifelong struggle with disease. Here is a list of cons and pros:

I like to end on the positives.



  • Energy is needed in life! I just do not have the same energy as others.
  • I do not have an strong immune system. I have spent long periods of time isolated because of it. Next time you know of someone who is struggling, go get them and take them on a mini adventure. It keeps them engaged in life.
  • I would really like to get back the time spent at doctors, hospitals, and getting lab tests done. Time is a precious commodity in life. Make sure you treat it with respect.
  • Mood swings — Prednisone and adolescence do not mix. (I’m sorry family!)
  • My little girl watched me through two transplants and several years of dialysis. No child should have to watch their mom get so weak and tired.

Now for the good stuff, the Pros:

  • I get to see how precious each and every day is. Actually I know this.  Not in theory, or some Facebook post.  But I know this to my very bones.
  • I realize the importance of being able to walk and think clearly. These are gifts many take for granted.
  • I am so very thankful for my family. I know to tell them frequently. Because you never know what the future holds.  But I know they know how precio13902793_10208815363915191_6318670003092494437_nus each of them is to me.
  • I do not sweat the small stuff. It is the big stuff that matters.

What I would like the medical profession to understand about living with a lifelong chronic disease:

Having to deal with health issues every day touches everything in my life. My energy, my ability to walk, sit, run or just plan or think, my relationships with everyone and more. Finding energy to do anything is a constant re-negotiation each and every day.  I hope to be able to do X, if my legs do not swell up, if I do not get dizzy, if I can form a coherent thought in my brain addled with all the extra unwanted chemicals in my system. But it is the isolation from life and people that is the hardest part.  Being forced to stay at home and rest my broken body means I miss out on many opportunities and it is sooooo boring.  I want to say yes to everything.  My mind is there, but my body just cannot make it.10431547_10154342097295386_2495616221514645801_n

This fatigue and forced rest has not been fair to my family. They have to pick up my slack.  I cannot tell how much I hate not being able to go the extra mile for them.  Not always being there.

One thing everyone can do today is to call someone who is stuck at home. Better yet, take them out for 30 minutes or maybe it is just 20 minutes.  Just a little freedom makes a huge difference.

In conclusion, this journey has made me the person I am. Looking back, I would not change a thing.

A post-script from Lori: I want to thank all of the Twirly Girls who have helped make the Lovely Rita Fundraiser a success in years-past and who are preparing for this year’s event.  We really do appreciate all of the time spent preparing routines, as well as the items and money donated.  I want to personally recognize Diana for bringing in the bleachers and giving people a place to actually sit (I’ve attended many events where you have to sit on the floor) and also Bel for donating so much studio time to make this such a great event. 27197_111757455504506_8171919_n

Rita ran into some more health problems almost a year ago and hasn’t been able to make it to class in quite a while. I know many new students don’t know Rita personally and have probably been wondering why we put on this event.  I hope this helps you understand a little bit more about Rita.

Please save the date! Twirly Girls’ 8th Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser will be held Saturday, April 22.  Ticket sales and raffles will benefit the National Kidney Foundation.  We are looking for performers, volunteers, and raffle items to be donated.  If you would like to be involved, please let Bel know!  And if you have any questions, or would like to drop Rita a note, please feel free to join the Twirly Girls group on Facebook and leave comments there!  We look forward to seeing you in April!

April Workshops to Benefit the Lovely Rita Fundraiser!

April is here! Th1982233_10153845781120386_699533988_nat means it is time for the FIFTH ANNUAL LOVELY RITA FUNDRAISER! The money raised benefits the National Kidney Foundation in honor of our lovely Rita Pearson!

Our showcase is set for Saturday, April 26th at 7 PM. Tickets are $20 each and checks should be made payable to Twirly Girls. Don’t forget: this event sells out every single year and a lot of people are left asking for last minute tickets. There will not be tickets available at the door and the event is generally sold out at least two weeks beforehand. So don’t wait!

This year, we are offering various workshops throughout the month to also benefit the fundraiser. Here’s what we have so far:

All workshops at a special $25.00 price!  SIGN UP HERE.

Bring a Friend Sun, April 6, 1:00 – 2:00pm
Instructor: Lori
Description: Bring a friend and share a pole! 2 for the price of 1 $25. This workshop is great for beginners. Bring in a friend and share the fun.

Dizzy Divas Sun, April 6, 2:30 – 4:00pm
Instructor: Diana
Description: Learn a mini choreographed routine and spinning pole moves.

Begin to Spin Sun, April 13 5:00 – 6:00pm
Instructor: Seanmichael
Description: Learn the fundamentals of transferring your static pole knowledge to the spinning pole. We’ll cover conditioning, basic spins (hand holds,) and spinning poses (leg holds.) All levels welcome.

Stiletto Basics Fri, April 18 7:00 – 8:30pm
Instructor: Jade
Description: Find your balance, grace and confidence to travel across the floor in heels. Bring your heels and your sexy attitude.

Intro to Aerial Silks
Instructor: AJ Sun TBA
Description: Suspend your fitness to new heights with a 90 minute low floor gliding introduction to Aerial Silks.

Fly Gym for Strength Sat, April 19 1:00 – 2:00pm
Instructor: Ginger
Description: Strengthen your joints without impact or stress using Fly Gym.

Fly Gym for Flexibility Sat, April 19 2:30 – 3:30pm
Instructor: Ginger
Description: Enjoy deeper, more relaxing stretches because you do not have to pull or force yourself into the stretch.

Register Online
Register for classes online and be sure to check out completely (this means entering credit card information even though you are not charged through Studio Director).

Payment options for workshops at the studio. Workshops are $25.00.

•Bring cash or a check made out to The National Kidney Foundation to class.
•Donate online directly to Rita’s Donor Page and bring proof of donation email to class.
All proceeds will be directly donated to the National Kidney Foundation.

The Fourth Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser to Benefit the National Kidney Foundation!

As most of you know, one of our Twirly Girls, Rita, has had three kidney transplants in her lifetime.  In less than a month, Twirly Girls is hosting a fundraiser, which will benefit the National Kidney Foundation.

If you are a local business or a pole related/online business that would like to offer items for our raffle, please let me know.  If you would like to buy tickets to the fundraiser, they are $15.  We will also start selling raffle tickets soon.  Contact your favorite Twirly Girl to secure your spot.  You may make checks payable to the National Kidney Foundation if you would like a receipt for your tax deduction.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM (door at 6:30 PM)
Location: Twirly Girls Pole Fitness, 288 Spring Street, Pleasanton, California


Please join us for a fun evening to support a great lady!


The Third Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser to Benefit the National Kidney Foundation!

The Third Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser to benefit the National Kidney Foundation is ALMOST HERE!  It will consist of two weekends of workshops and a showcase.

First up, on Saturday, April 14th, there will be a Burlesque Workshop with Lori at 12:30 PM. 


Come learn a cute burlesque routine and help us raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.

$25 for one person or two people for $40. ALL money raised goes to the National Kidney Foundation. Must be paid in advance. No refunds. Please contact Bel to pay ASAP (http://www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com/).

There will be a special gift for all participants!

Then stick around for GLITTER SHOES with Diana at 3 PM!


You bring the shoes, we provide the supplies!

Turn a BLAH pair of shoes into BLING!

Advanced sign up is required (to ensure enough glitter in your chosen color is available). Please contact Bel (www.twirlygirlspolefitness.com).

$30 per person.

On Sunday, April 15th at 11:30 AM, Jade will hold the Primal Seduction Workshop.


Feel Sensual, sexy, powerful and primal during this 90 minute workshop.
$25 per person ~ All levels welcome.
Please call Bel to sign up. Space limited. Bring in your sexy shoes if you’d like.

And the BIGGIE!

The Third Annual Lovely Rita Fundraiser will be held on Sunday, April 22nd at 5:00 p.m.  We will have a raffle, silent auction and showcase featuring many of the Twirly Girls.  All money raised goes to the National Kidney Foundation.  Tickets are ONLY $10!  Space is very limited and tickets should be purchased in advance.



Come witness the love and support that the Twirly Girls give their Lovely Rita when they dance to celebrate an amazing woman.

The event contains pole dancing and aerial silks performances. There is NO nudity and this is a family-friendly event.

Raffle tickets are available now and you do not need to be present to win.  Three tickets for $5.  Eight tickets for $10.  Twenty tickets for $20.  

Prize list so far (more prizes are pouring in every day):

Sephora gift basket, Reiki session, massages, bodywork, various Twirly Girls classes or private sessions (Aerial Silks with Sarah, Graceful Moves, Spinny Pole with Diana, Sassy Pants with Lori), Twirly Girls apparel, wine, champagne, Jamilla Deville Routines DVD.

You must attend the event to bid on the silent auction items.  Those items include a plane ride around the Bay Area and Golden Gate Bridge with our very own Maleko, $2,400 worth of dental work from Dr. Jerry Wang, Giants baseball tickets, tickets to Sunday’s A Drag at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and a photoshoot with Liquidpulp Photography.

You can find details on www.TwirlyGirlsPoleFitness.comYou MUST contact Bel to sign up beforehand.  Checks can be made payable to The National Kidney Foundation.  They will not be cashed until the Kidney Walk in May.