Mum Set To Break Burpee World Record After Raising Money For Daughter’s Rare Birth Defect

by : Emily Brown on : 25 Jan 2020 16:25
Mum Set To Break Burpee World Record After Raising Money For Daughter's Rare Birth DefectGena Laielli/Facebook/genfit_ness/Instagram

A determined mother is set to break the burpee world record after raising money and awareness for her daughter’s rare birth defect. 

Gena Laielli, a 37-year-old mum of two, took on the challenge earlier this month at her New Jersey gym, Genfitness, where a team of six judges watched and recorded her every move.


Anyone who’s ever attempted a burpee will know they’re one of the most exhausting forms of exercise, but Gena insisted she actually loved doing them, describing the workout as her ‘love language’.

Check out Gena approaching the end of the challenge here:


The mum decided to put her love of exercise to good use by organising a burpee-a-thon at the gym to raise money for research into omphalocele; a rare birth defect her six-year-old daughter Emma suffers from.


According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, omphalocele causes a baby’s organs ‘stick outside of the belly through the belly button’. The organs, including the intestine and liver, are covered in a thin, nearly transparent sac.

Gena was warned of her baby’s condition when she was 13 weeks pregnant, at which point she learned she would likely miscarry, Good Morning America reports. However, after spending weeks on bedrest, the mum successfully gave birth in June 2013.

Emma was nearly seven weeks premature and spent the first nine months of her life in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP), before being sent home with a ventilator, a tracheotomy and nursing care.


The little girl has undergone numerous surgeries in her short life, but she has now started school and is expected to lead a normal and healthy life.

Gena opened her gym after giving birth to Emma, and every year the family celebrate Omphalocele Awareness Month – this year with the burpee-a-thon. Between the hours of 7:40am and 7:40pm on January 11, the determined mother managed to complete a whopping 5,332 burpees.

Guinness World Records is reviewing Gena’s application to determine whether she holds the new record, though the process could take several weeks.


The current record for the ‘most chest to ground push up burpees in 12 hours’ for a female is 4,785; an record set by Eva Clark in Abu Dhabi in February 2018.

While the challenge was tough going, Gena said all 12 hours were worth it to pay back Emma for all the strength she’s shown over the years. The mum was joined by her daughter for the last 10 minutes of the challenge.

The gym owner spoke about how far her daughter has come since first arriving into the world, saying:


We just took it hour by hour in the NICU because no one had any answers and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m glad we gave her that chance because she’s six years old and she has a bunch of scars but she’s totally fine.

To see her doing burpees and knowing all that she went through and she’s busting burpees like it’s nothing, that just made my day. She is the strongest person I know.

The money raised from the event will go to both omphalocele research and CHOP. Gena’s challenge did an incredible job in raising awareness for the condition, and hopefully Guinness World Records will approve her application to reward her.

What an incredible achievement!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Fitness, Guinness World Records, New Jersey


Good Morning America and 3 others
  1. Good Morning America

    Mom does 5,332 burpees in 12 hours to help daughter with rare birth defect

  2. genfit_ness/Instagram


  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Facts about Omphalocele

  4. Guinness World Records

    Most chest to ground push up burpees in 12 hours (female)