In 2009, Z’s world was changed. Her best friend, Cecy, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26.
Although she had insurance and a referral from her physician, Cecy was initially denied breast screening services by medical professionals and was recommended for “mammography at age 40”. Not satisfied, Cecy advocated for her health. Due to her persistence, she discovered that she was living with breast cancer.
The shock of Cecy's diagnosis at this young age and the realization that the healthcare system failed her friend fueled Z to take action. No one is immune to breast cancer, even those under 40, and that truth led Z to do what she does best. Lift a barbell. 30 times. Joined by 60 loyal friends and supporters in a small parking lot in Southern California, this group of athletes raised $4,000 for Cecy.
Selflessly, Cecy asked that the funds raised be used to help others. Barbells for Boobs was born. Z is a mom, wife, competitive weightlifter and a self-made CEO. In 10 years, Z and the community have grown Barbells for Boobs into a global movement that began with a critical need in early detection and has evolved into providing resources after diagnosis through fitness. “Maintaining a grassroots culture, while we continue to grow is critical. Making an impact through human connection and breaking barriers is most important to me.”
Her positive approach to life is heavily influenced by her love of the Rasta Culture. “Being a Rasta is saying you stand for truth, love and positivity,” says Z. With this in mind, coupled with her strong drive, Z continues to instill this as the foundation of her organization. Her focus on a grassroots approach to social entrepreneurship has attracted so many to support the mission and cause, that ultimately stemmed from her commitment to her best friend.