Lakewood OH

World record attempt raises money for cystic fibrosis fight

By Kevin Kelley


Friday was game day for Paul “Theo” Theodore. But just like Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, the Westlake fitness trainer’s game was off from the very start.

Theodore had set out at 8 a.m. to break the world record of 4,030 for the most pull ups done in a 24-hour period. But Theodore said he knew from the start that he wasn’t having a good day.

“Maybe I overtrained,” the Westlake resident told West Life. “I don’t know.”

Friday’s attempt took place at FMU Fitness Club, the gym Theodore owns with his wife, Amber, in Avon. But the real goal of his world record attempt was to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Theodore had been thinking about a go at the record for some time. A little more than a year ago, he heard of Zoe Watterson, a Westlake teen with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder affects the lungs and digestive system. Watterson had enlisted the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to decorate the fifth floor of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital to make it more welcoming for children.

Inspired by Watterson, Theodore went after the record a year ago in the gym at Grace Baptist Church in Westlake. His effort fell short, as he achieved only 2,225 pullups. But the benefit party raised $29,000 for Watterson’s hospital redecoration efforts and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Watterson’s efforts to remodel a hospital floor to be a more colorful, cozy place for younger patients has been taking some time. However, donations from GE Lighting and Levin Furniture in their areas of business have already been obtained, she said.

“I’m very thankful to Paul and his family for doing this to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and to raise more money for cystic fibrosis,” the Westlake High School senior said.

Theodore stopped after about 1,400 pullups Friday night.

“I was really whooped today,” he told supporters Friday evening. But his effort raised at least $6,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Donations can be made online for the rest of the week at

At Friday’s “Pull Ups for Zoe 2.0,” teams of eight in youth and adult divisions contributed a $200 registration fee for a competition to see which group could do the most pullups. A team of kids from St. Bernadette Church in Westlake won the youth division with 548 pullups.

Zoe’s mother, Susan Watterson, organized two teams from her friends and co-workers at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Some of my girlfriends had never done a pullup,” she said. “And they came to show their support.”



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