“Let’s Go Babe”: The Fight to Raise Money for a Florida Affiliate Owner with Cancer

January 17, 2024 by
Photo Credit: Daniel Bray Photography
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In early December, CrossFit Zoo owner Brad Robison was looking forward to the holidays with his wife Nikki and then heading down to Miami to enjoy a weekend of fitness at TYR WZA for the first time, but things can change quickly in CrossFit and in life.

The Robisons purchased CrossFit Zoo in Ocala, FL, soon after COVID closures were lifted, and in three short years, they turned the gym into a massive presence in the community, constantly participating in and hosting local competitions.

Beth Biele and her husband own Soldier City Fitness in St. Cloud, FL, about 90 minutes from CrossFit Zoo. 

  • Biele described one of Robison’s yearly competitions called the Reindeer Rumble, “They’re great, family-oriented competitions,” she told The Morning Chalk Up. “They have a kids division and a division with parents and kids – it’s fun.”

Robison fell ill on December 2, right after this year’s Reindeer Rumble. He went to the doctor and was brushed off, only to get worse, and entered the hospital on December 16. 

  • He had emergency gallbladder surgery and, with it, lots of complications. He was told he had Stage Four Esophageal Adenocarcinoma that had metastasized to his blood, lymph nodes, and pleural cavity. 

Also posted on CrossFit Zoo’s Instagram on December 31, Robison has also been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and aspirating pneumonia. He started his first round of chemotherapy just before New Year’s Eve.

It’s been a month or so from when he first had symptoms, and Robison is now in the ICU. 

Life can change in an instant.

The CrossFit community in Florida is strong, and word spread quickly.

Biele: “He is the primary person running his gym; he and his wife are there all the time. He’s a physical therapy assistant, and she’s a massage therapist, and the gym takes constant work.” 

  • “They have other coaches that are trying to help them, but everyone has full-time jobs. They’re just stepping in. So I think the Robison’s main concern right now is just to keep that going. Obviously, their medical bills are piling up, but that’s the least of their worries at this moment. They’re just trying to keep their home and their gym afloat.” 

One of the coaches from CrossFit Zoo reached out to Nikki, intending to put together a workout for Brad with his favorite movements to raise money for the family. Brad conceived the workout as he sat quietly in the ICU, getting his first dose of chemo. They named it “Big Brad.”

Over 20 gyms around Central Florida, from Gainsville to Orlando to St. Cloud, were signed up for this fundraiser within two days. Gyms are tackling the workout throughout January, on different weekends.

“Big Brad” also has a scaled version. In all of the videos of Brad competing, viewers could always hear his wife in the background cheering him on with her classic phrase.

The scaled version is called “Let’s Go Babe!”

Photo Credit: Daniel Bray Photography

Want to help? 

There’s a GoFundMe to help the Robisons and head here to purchase a shirt brought to you by Voodoo Barbell. 

Friends and family are trying to raise enough money to transfer Robison to a cancer institute nearby, where he can receive more specialized care. This transfer requires a certain amount of money upfront, and Team Brad is rallying to get him to the $30,000 mark ASAP.

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