"Did you know there's a song about New York?"

This past weekend I had the honor of traveling to the east coast to join the Mammograms in Action- Barbells for Boobs (B4B) crew for the final two stops on this year’s tour- New York City and Boston.  Combined with the two stops I made in the Chicago area, I attended four B4B events and what a memorable experience!   The B4B team is a phenomenal group of people, I feel so fortunate to have had the experience of working with them.

The first event I was part of was hosted by my home box, Crossfit Chicago, and was well attended by boxes from all over the city.  If I’m not mistaken there was representation from each of the Chicago boxes.  Chicago was followed by a stop at Crossfit Dupage, a particularly special location because the woman who was responsible for planning the event and getting B4B out to Dupage was a survivor (and landed on the podium with her Rx’d  Grace time, no less).  Also in attendance was a nurse from a local breast health center who on a daily basis sits down with patients to inform them of their cancer diagnosis.  Hearing her speak brought to life that we were not just throwing around barbells and having fun doing “Grace,” we were actually participating in an incredibly impactful movement that would be helping real families.  The next tour stop was in NYC.  The attendees here really showed their spirit and commitment to the cause by being completely undeterred by the winter storm conditions combined with an outdoor venue.  No one seemed the least bit phased by the incredibly wet and cold conditions.  The B4B weekend concluded at Crossfit New England, home of the 2011 Games Team champions.   There were some serious firebreathers in this box, who came out after a snowstorm the night before in New England.

Reebok, B4B and Crossfit New England Folks at CFNE

Jonny Vu, organizer of the CF Chicago event, shared this letter from Dr. Sandy Goldberg, founder of A Silver Lining Foundation- the recipient organization of grant funds from the Chicago event.  The impact of these funds could not be expressed any more simply or eloquently:

“Barbells for Boobs – what a name and what an impact. Your participation this past weekend will fund 75 free mammograms at one of our six partner hospitals! Just think of it – 75 lives eased and possibly saved through this potentially lifesaving test. Mammograms in Action for sure!!

Your support of our mission is a silver lining indeed. On behalf of those 75 women and men I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Crossfit Chicago’s Jonny Vu discusses the CFC event, then Mammograms in Action(MIA) Founder Zionna Munoz explains the roots of MIA:

People come out in droves to support B4B not for all the Crossfit heavy hitters that are in attendance at these events (and there were many), but because that’s what Crossfitters do- we support one another.  This is truly a grassroots effort born and raised in the Crossfit community.  Secondly, so many of us have been personally impacted by cancer.  With our unpredictable economy and a difficult to navigate health insurance industry, accessing necessary healthcare is not a given and there but for the grace of God go I.  When I was a little girl I had a tumor in my throat (benign, thank God, but life threatening due to the location) that required multiple doctors to diagnose and 3 surgeries to treat.  I can imagine what may have happened had I been born in a different time and place, or if my parents had been uninsured.  Most of us probably have an example where our own or a loved one’s life was preserved by having timely access to appropriate medical care.  What if a patient is uninsured and left to choose between paying for a mammogram and buying food for their family?  Even a “short” delay in diagnosis can lead to a precipitous decline in survival rates.  This is the type of situation that can be eradicated by the efforts of Mammograms in Action with the help of all the people worldwide that made the B4B events such a great success.  I have so much respect for their dedicated and tireless work and I’m humbled to have been a part of it.

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Author: Elisabeth Akinwale

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