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Crossfit enthusiasts, DeRamus get down with 21 Squats challenge

Princeton Times - 2/2/2018

BLUEFIELD, Va. - Ashley DeRamus doesn't want anyone to tell her what she can't do. She'd much rather they stand back and let her show them what she can do.

In fact, the 34-year-old retired Special Olympics swimmer, fashion designer, music video star, singer, motivational speaker and overall star made a trip through the region this week to do just that. She scheduled stops in Bluefield, Green Valley and a few other spots throughout Four Seasons Country to remind everyone that we could probably all get a little more active and that those of us with a few spare coins or dollars in our wallets should consider donating them to a worthy cause - such as the 21 Squats for 21 Days Challenge.

The challenge encourages everyone to do commit to do 21 squats for 21 days, tag friends on social media, share video online of themselves doing the exercises and donate $21 to the Ashley DeRamus Foundation, which is on a mission to help spread awareness about Down Syndrome and the need for everyone to remain physically active and energetic.

According to the kick-off letter, there are lots of ways to adapt the squats to fit your fitness level or desires.

"Be creative. Make them as easy or challenging as you want. Stand up from a seated position, do air squats or load a barbell with massive weights. The choice is yours!" The challenge letter reads. "Ashley is excited to see you, and her peers make a fun commitment to staying active. Video yourself doing the squats for 21 days, tag a different friend on social media, through email or in person every day and challenge them to join in on the fun. Be sure and include the link ( and help us continue to spread awareness by making a $21 donation."

Anyone who coaches a team, runs a gym, dojo, weight-loss center or other fitness organization is also invited to get involved by motivating their athletes to participate and spread the word.

Saturday, DeRamus made a trip to Crossfit Bluefield, where she was joined by approximately 80 enthusiasts and fans, including members of several local fire departments and crossfit members, to kick off the local challenge. Sunday, she headed for the Green Valley Bowling Center, for a similar kick-off.

Somewhat overwhelmed by the outpouring of good will and enthusiasm, DeRamus said the energy and excitement the community showed for the 21-day challenge made her feel "good" about the effort and the exuberance. She was particularly impressed by the firefighters who completed the kick-off round of squats in their full gear, and she eagerly seized the opportunity to sit inside one of the fire trucks on hand for the event.

Lora Morgan, one of the local organizers of the event explained that the funds raised will benefit The Ashley DeRamus Foundation, an organization founded for and dedicated to the education, advancement and quality lifestyle of children and adults with Down syndrome.

According to the organization's website,, the foundation was established to serve as an advocate and support program for those with disabilities by providing fundraising and educational opportunities.


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