5-year-old does jumping jacks in 20 states to raise money for sick children

CEDAR CITY — A 5-year-old boy stopped twice in Southern Utah this week to do 20 jumping jacks at each place.

Jude Cavagnuolo does jumping jacks at the giant spider sculpture in St. George, Utah, Sept. 7, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hartnett, St. George News

Tuesday morning, Jude Cavagnuolo and his parents made a 10-minute visit to Cedar City’s landlocked lighthouse located in the Providence Center, where Jude did a set of the calisthenic exercises. About an hour later, he did 20 more at the giant metal spider with a face made of license plates that looms over a roundabout in downtown St. George.

The family, who are in the process of moving from Connecticut to California, were in the final stages of a 3,000-mile summer road trip that included stops in 20 different states. 

Jude’s goal was to perform at least 20 jumping jacks in each of the different states they visited, his mother Stephanie Harnett explained. She said Jude, who is scheduled to start kindergarten this week, decided earlier in the summer to do something fun to help raise money for a good cause.

Hartnett said she told her son to pick something that’s a challenge for himself.

“He’s not going to pick running 100 miles, but he thought of jumping jacks,” she said. “And since we had the opportunity to pass through 20 states, he wanted to do 20 jumping jacks in each state.”

“I just thought it would be fun, and because I want to help other kids,” Jude added.

Jude’s father Jared Cavagnuolo said his son enjoyed picking out unique and quirky roadside attractions to visit as they planned out their marathon trip, which actually included two separate trips to the West Coast. 

Previous stops included the world’s largest piece of driftwood (in Winnemucca, Nevada), a giant potato (Blackfoot, Idaho) a huge Van Gogh painting on an easel (Kansas) and a giant rocking chair and set of wind chimes across the street from each other in Casey, Illinois.

As their road trip wound down over Labor Day weekend, Jude’s family visited Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, in the area of Yellowstone National Park before making their way to Southern Utah to stay the night with Hartnett’s sister, who lives in Hatch.

Shortly after their stops in Cedar City in St. George, they crossed off Arizona by making a short stop at a gas station near the Virgin River Gorge. A few hours later, they capped off Jude’s jumping jack journey with a jaunt at the famous giant thermometer sign in Baker, California.

Jude’s campaign, which has raised more than $5,000, is still actively accepting donations. To make a contribution, click on Jude’s fundraising page at the SeriousFun Children’s Network. The organization provides free camps and other programs for children with serious illnesses and their families. Jude’s page also includes photos and descriptive captions of some of the many places he stopped during his trip.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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