Lumber City Athletics Has Raised $150,000 and Counting for Barbells for Boobs
In 2012, new CrossFit affiliate owner Jennifer Greco was looking for a non-profit she felt comfortable asking her community to get behind. She soon came across Barbells for Boobs, and knew it was “the perfect fit.”
“It was really cool to me that Barbells for Boobs gave directly back to women. At the time they were funding mammograms and early breast cancer detection, so we started raising money, sending them the money, and it went directly to the women,” said Greco, the long-time owner of Lumber City Athletics in North Tonawanda, New York.
Remind me: Barbells for Boobs was founded by CrossFit athlete Zionna Hanson in 2009. In the last 13 years, the CrossFit community has raised more than $20 million for the non-profit, mostly through hosting competition fundraisers that include the classic CrossFit workout Grace—30 clean and jerks for time—the ultimate goal being to promote physical activity as the foundation for breast cancer risk reduction, treatment, and survivorship.
- The money they raise then goes to education, resources and support for women—mostly women in the CrossFit community—in all stages of their breast cancer journey through the Barbells for Boobs RAD (Resources After Diagnosis) program.
The details: Greco and her CrossFit community have participated in the Barbells for Boobs Grace event in October—Breast Cancer Awareness month—every single year since 2012, and have raised $150,644.54 throughout the years.
- In their first year, her community raised $8,027, a number that steadily increased every year until 2015 when they hit their highest annual total of $36,940.
- It was admittedly harder to host the event during the pandemic, but Greco was determined, so she ran Grace outside in October in New York, and still managed to raise more than $7,000 in both 2020 and 2021.
- This year, Lumber City Athletics has already raised more than $7,000 from a golf tournament and a burpee fundraiser, so she expects that they will eclipse the $10,000 mark after they run their annual Grace event on October 29.
- Most recently, on top of being “a proud fundraiser” for a cause she believes in, Greco, a chiropractor, has also joined the Barbells for Boobs integrative team and will be working directly with breast cancer survivors in the RAD program.
One big thing: Anyone who runs an annual event knows it can be difficult to keep a community motivated year-after-year to raise money for the same cause, which can often cause donor fatigue, as well, but Greco won’t let that happen because she wholeheartedly believes in the difference Barbells for Boobs is making.
- In light of this, she has always focused on ways to keep it fresh each year, often by adding new components to the fundraiser, such as raffles for a free membership or a rowing machine. “One year we even had the coaches eating a donut and then a round of Helen, and we had people throwing down money to watch the coaches eat donuts,” she said, laughing.
- It also helps to find ways to make it personal. This year, for example, she introduced her community to a woman who had a double mastectomy six months ago. “She came and did a workout and ran at our gym for the first time since her mastectomy,” Greco said. “People could feel how real it is, that one in eight women (get breast cancer), and that it could be the woman they share a barbell with everyday.”
The big picture: While Greco is proud of her community for raising as much money for women and breast cancer as they have, she’s even more proud of what Barbells for Boobs, and CrossFit, is doing.
- “People need to know how CrossFit has made these women strong and resilient. It just really nails home what we do everyday at our affiliates,” she said. “And the RAD program. Everyone needs to know about it. It’s changing lives. It’s elevating the care for these women. Without Barbells for Boobs, these women’s lives would be incredibly different.”
“It’s a huge message to get across. This disease isn’t going away, but we can change how we look at it, and how we support women.”