GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The pushup is one of the oldest forms of exercise. It has helped create a new sense of belonging and family at Jenison Public Schools’ Sandy Hill Elementary.

Kevin Boggs is a paraprofessional for the school who works with children with cognitive differences. He took on a challenge to do 100 pushups each day during February to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“I’ve always been a big fan of St. Jude’s, what they do, how they don’t charge families or anything and freely share their information,” he said.

It’s a cause close to his heart. After watching his nephew, Kyle, go through treatment for leukemia at two years old. His nephew is now 17 years old.

“We were fortunate that my sister and her husband worked for good companies with good insurance programs,” said Boggs. “Other people who don’t have good health insurance, then those kids get leukemia and things like that, they are able to go (to St. Jude’s) and not worry about anything.”  

Pushups were the perfect exercise for Boggs since he has trouble running or bicycling after an accident about eight months ago while working on a farm.

“I was helping do a trench project at the farm where we keep our horses. I was about 4 feet down in a long trench when the whole thing collapsed and pinned me from the waist down,” he said.

The weight of the earth broke his leg.

“I haven’t done a lot of walking and running since then, for sure,” he joked.

One hundred pushups for 28 days amount to 2,800 pushups total. Boggs tried to break it down into small numbers to avoid getting overwhelmed. He recorded his videos doing about 10 pushups at a time throughout the day, whether at home, the farm or even at school.

The kids started noticing and asking to join in, including a fourth-grade student named Abe, who has down syndrome. He was part of Boggs’s classroom during his first four years in the district.

“He is just a wonderful kid,” said Boggs. “He is very strong, and he is very proud of how strong he is as well. So he was somebody who definitely wanted to get involved at least in some of the pushups.”

One day, Boggs happened to be in the gym with Abe to do a set of pushups and saw a beautiful show of support from Abe’s classmates. The students started cheering along, chanting Abe’s name.

“I could feel (his reaction). It was wonderful. I think that empowered him too,” Boggs explained.

When he started the challenge, Boggs set a goal to raise $250 but would have been happy to bring in even $100. He ended up raising more than $3,000, all of which will go directly to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“It really showed me that if you put good things out in the world and you do it in a positive way, you can really be amazed at what comes back to you,” Boggs.

As for his students, he hopes they will remember as they move on from Sandy Hill Elementary how good it feels to do good for others.