Derderian Academy students kick it up a notch for the American Cancer Society


Imagine kicking any object 140 times without stopping within 60 seconds.

That’s exactly what Juliana Desnoyers did Saturday morning inside the well-appointed Derderian Academy of Martial Arts located at 11 Commerce Way inside the Johnston Plaza off Atwood Avenue.

Her prize?

“Make that everyone’s prize, we just raised $4,000 for the American Cancer Society,” said Raffi Derderian, who along with his wife Susan own and operate the martial arts academy. “This kick-a-thon was a huge success thanks to lots of people and supporters.”

The Derderian’s students solicited sponsorships from family and friends based on how many times they could kick a target in one minute. Both adults and kids participated in Saturday’s event that was sixth time in the Academy’s history that the couple has raised money for important non-profits.

“In the past we’ve done benefits for other non-profits,” Raffi Derderian explained. “We’ve done benefits for The Jimmy Fund, Wounded Warriors, St. Jude, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and Toys for Tots. This was our first ever for the American Cancer Society and we are thrilled with the results.”

Even Sensei Raffi and Sensei Susan got on the floor and threw kicks during Saturday’s well-attended fundraiser. Instructor Sue McFarlane and Yellow Belt Emilia Marcotte tied for raising the most money at $335 each.

“Emilia put up a poster in her mom’s cafe and she even got Smashburger to sponsor her (kicking) efforts,” Derderian said. “Overall we were happy with the turnout and outcome of this fundraiser. Next year, we plan to raise $10,000.”

Perhaps one reason why Raffi Derderian made that bold prediction, as he said Saturday, “Thank you to the ACS for being so easy to work with and for providing the giveaway wristbands and such to the participants.”

He also heaped words of praise upon neighboring Starbucks – also located in the Johnston Plaza – for donating a gift card that was given to the top fundraisers.


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