Philip Gray’s colleagues and friends came together to raise funds for his cancer treatment at a giant fitness event and silent auction held recently at at Equinox South Beach.
Dubbed “Pfight 4 Philip,” the all-morning event was filled with group fitness glasses, a silent auction packed with luxury items (including active wear designed by Gray) and refreshments. But most of all it provided Gray’s many friends with an opportunity to demonstrate how much they all love and support him.
“I can’t tell you how special it is for me to have Equinox do this. I am so filled with gratitude, I just cannot express it. It’s overwhelming to have such an outpouring of people come to support me,” said Gray.
Gray, who is also a fashion designer, has conducted group fitness classes ever since Equinox opened in South Beach 10 years ago. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last summer and, although the cancer was in remission, he is now under treatment again.
It was Gray’s close friend Michelle Hanlon-Mascari idea’s idea to come up with the event. Equinox South Beach’s first general manager, she brought Gray with her to open the facility, having initially recruited him for Equinox in New York.
“Philip was teaching a class at another fitness venue and I was so taken by his charismatic presence, passion for fashion and his personal touch that I had him start teaching as a guest instructor. We also started working the fitness center selling his designs, so when I I opened the Equinox in South Beach, Philip was the first person I hired.” He proved so popular that “people in the community joined our new brand just to follow Philip,” she added.
After he became sick, there was no question that she would be there to support him, Hanlon-Mascari added. “A friendship is similar to marriage. Through better or worse, you stand by the person you love,” she said.
During the event, all of the classes were filled to capacity, noted Andres Escobar, who taught a special session of his Mitana dance class. “The whole facility, as well as the gym, was filled with such amazing energy, you could feel it. It brought great joy to my very being,” he said.
For Scott Helie, there was also never any doubt he would turn out for the event. “Philip is a great motivation in my fitness journey. He makes fitness fun and enjoyable. I wanted to show support as he recovers, so he can come back and spread this to others,” said Helie, adding, “Equinox is not the same without him.”
Orlando Aponte noted that he feels a special bond with Gray. “As a cancer survivor myself, I jointed Equinox to ensure that I maintained a healthier lifestyle, and Philip has been an important part of my transformation. Taking his fun, dynamic classes helped me to achieve my goals and for that I am indebted to him,” said Aponte. “He is truly a special human being and he has touched many lives,” he added.
More info: Philip Gray Lifestyle, Equinox South Beach