On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime. With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CrossFit Boxes are creating events and finding unique ways to raise awareness for those affected by the disease.
Stephen Macioci, the owner of CrossFit Ignite in Park Ridge, New Jersey, partners with Barbells for Boobs, a fundraising organization empowering people to take action in breast cancer research, in their Helen Meets Grace competition each October.
“One of my Coaches spearheads the event because he is connected to this cause, which was the catalyst to get it started,” said Macioci. “A lot of people wear shirts for those affected in their family or somebody that is close to them. It’s a pretty emotional, fun, empowering day. We try to get vendors and food trucks. We really want it to be an event that raises awareness in our community and raises money.”
The workout at the competition is a mix of Helen and Grace. Since the Clean and Jerk movement presented can sometimes be a bit intimidating for a beginner, Macioci thought pairing it with Helen would be a good way to show anyone they can participate.
“The cool thing is people come with these misconceptions, and then you show them how things are done with a PVC pipe and they realize they can do anything we can do,” said Macioci. “It’s a really great way to introduce people to CrossFit, raise money for a good cause and show the community aspect of what we do.”
Events like these, where the entire community can get involved, are great ways to expose people to CrossFit that may have never found themselves in your gym otherwise. Spectators will see the community, the fundraising and the heart of your gym at events like these.
“Everyone can be all smiles and saying, ‘Hello’ in the beginning, but when someone is sweating on the floor and gasping for breath is where they will be shown who the true person is at that time,” said Macioci. “That’s when someone will see our community encouraging each other, cheering one another on, helping each other off the floor, hugging one another. There can be tears sometimes, so you really get that emotional aspect of how fitness is a catalyst for different things.”
Macioci said they have plans to continue this event, Helen Meets Grace, through the future of their gym, and he encouraged other Affiliates to take part in causes your staff or members hold near to their hearts.
“There’s a saying that goes, ‘If you don’t have a cause worth fighting for, you don’t have a reason to live,’” said Macioci. “This all has no meaning unless we all grow. Being an Affiliate, it’s important to take part in little events. It’s a perfect day in my mind.”