Terri Spettell remembers it distinctly.

“I was pregnant with my first child and my mother told me that she found a lump in her right breast,” remembers Spettell. “My heart just sank. She had a lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation, but with no real prognosis, it was a very difficult time for my whole family.

“My mom was stoic throughout the process, but it changed everything for me. Right after my son was born, I got my first mammogram, and started making positive changes in my life –proper diet and exercise. That was 19 years ago, and I thank God my mom is still here. Without that mammogram, I don’t know if she’d still be here,” Spettell said as her voice trailed off.

A natural fit, Spettell recently participated in a breast cancer fundraiser where she worked out. “Barbells for Boobs” is an annual event held at Animal Crossfit in Lyndhurst.

“You know, it’s funny. When I signed up here, I did it because after watching what my mom went through, I know how important it is to build muscle and strong bones. So, when I heard about the fundraiser, I just had to participate in a big way,” said Spettell, a 51-year-old Rutherford mom of three.

This year’s Barbells for Boobs was Animal Crossfit’s biggest one to date. With over 50 participants, nearly $7000 was raised through a social media presence that included over 1,300 Facebook followers who solicited donations by sharing information on their personal pages.

“This is our fifth year participating in this amazing fundraiser, and to date, we’ve raised nearly $40,000 to provide mammograms for less fortunate women,” said Animal Crossfit Co-Owner Ryan Marshall. “What makes it so great is that although this fundraiser is specific to the Crossfit world, it not only provides early detection through mammography, but it also brings the community together for a cause that has touched the lives of so many families.”

Like 44-year-old Lyndhurst resident and Animal Crossift member Butch Bellenger.

“My grandmother had breast cancer and survived for about 6 years after the initial diagnosis,” said Bellenger. “I know how important early detection is so I’ve been participating in this fundraiser since I joined here 5 years ago. I like the variation of the workout I get here, but what makes Animal Crossfit different than any other gym I’ve belonged to is the people, the camaraderie, the community spirit.”

Plans are already underway to make next year’s event the biggest one yet.

For more information on how to get involved, go to www.animalcrossfit.com.

Stephanie Dibrita takes her body to the limits during the Animal Crossfit breast cancer fundraiser, Barbells For Boobs.

Paul Estrada pushes a prowler sled with all of his might to help raise money for early breast cancer detection.

The Animal Crossfit crew in Lyndhurst happily raised nearly $7,000 in this year’s Barbells for Boobs fundraiser, benefitting breast cancer organizations that provide life-saving mammograms for women.

By Laura Comppen

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