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Season of RAD

Hello, my name is Jen.

I have been a proud “OG” of the RAD program with Barbells for Boobs, since my diagnosis in 2017. That year, my sister and brother-in-law, athletes at the incredible CrossFit Sun in San Diego, honored me in their fundraiser for Barbells for Boobs.

I have been hooked ever since!  

My first experience with the generosity of BFB was when I was intrigued at the idea of starting CrossFit as a means to get physically fit again.

 I was awarded a scholarship from Barbells for Boobs, at CrossFit Momentum in New York. Barbells for Boobs was going to pay for my gym membership! They were investing in ME and my health!  At this time of financial uncertainty, I was beside myself. I was also thrilled to learn about a new form of fitness.

This was one of the very first resources which marked the beginning of the RAD program!

I was diagnosed at age 46 with DCIS, and at the time, it was Stage 2B. Unfortunately, after months, chemo did not quite do the trick, so after a double mastectomy, my path report showed so much left in my lymph nodes. I was now Stage 3. During 25 rounds of RADiation, I began a medical trial to aggressively continue to attack those ugly cells, with oral chemo. 

There are so many layers to this disease.

Since my cancer was hormone-receptive, I was thrust into early menopause, and I will be on an aromatase inhibitor for several more years. I soon learned there is much more than meets the eye. Just because your hair grows back after chemo and you seem to look “better” on the outside, doesn’t mean you are on the other side of it all.

But Barbells for Boobs has been a saving grace for me, in the help it has provided me, since Day 1. I am a dancer, but it has been difficult to continue dancing, with the many aches and pains I now endure. With the intro to CrossFit, I was finally able to find some confidence again, this time as an athlete. When the pandemic hit and gyms were forced to close, Barbells for Boobs was right there to pick up the pieces and classes began online. I now enjoy our virtual RAD WOD with Coach Johnna, and I’m so grateful for her expertise and guidance throughout my many injuries.  She knows exactly what my body needs to scale the workout! Coach Johnna has been a savior!!

I can truly say that I would be lost without Barbells for Boobs. It is my hope that all women like me can find their way to this amazing organization!

Jen DuranRAD Athlete

Another awesome resource is our “B Student” course.

This was conceived by founder, Zionna, as a way for us to learn new techniques to heal our mind, body, and soul. Physically, my body has taken such a toll. But there are countless emotional and psychological scars to handle as well. Weekly check-ins with the “B Student community” have impacted me so positively. I was able to hear and see a group of amazing women with problems much like my own.

I learned I was not alone. 

I learned there are so many others who feel just the way I do! 

I learned how to lean on others for help… 

and I also found that my words and experiences could in turn, help others, too!  

This is empowering! Zionna’s vision has come to fruition time and time again, as she has dared to re-invent Barbells for Boobs to cater to what our community needs. She sees us and listens to us. She knows what we need, sometimes before even WE know!

And then… she ACTS. She shows up for all of us.

A huge part of the team is our mental health coach, Keisha.

She is always only a text or a phone call away with words of encouragement and wisdom. Her words have helped me countless times! To me, it’s incredible that I can actually FEEL the support from someone across the country so tangibly! As I mentioned, there are so many layers of emotional pain to forge through after diagnosis. I feel so fortunate to have Keisha’s guidance!

Being involved in this RAD community also means that I have a wealth of information and perspectives from women who have been in the same boat as I have. Just a “post” written on our Facebook group page can help me on any given day. We can ask medical questions and/or share important info with each other…or simply send a photo to encourage others. Sometimes words aren’t even needed, because we all have this bond. We all just “get it”. We are “boob sisters!”

I am so grateful for the entire team behind the scenes. 

It is the greatest gift to really be heard. 

To be made a priority. 

It is a gift that BFB shows up for me DAILY, even when I may be too tired or too down, to show up for myself!

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