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Local gym tackles breast cancer one burpee at a time

Tennille-Lynn Millo, Special to the Daily Sentinel
Posted 10/12/22

Whitesboro Fit Body Boot Camp owner Lisa Briggs opened her gym in 2018 with the intent of helping men and women experience workout transformations.

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Local gym tackles breast cancer one burpee at a time


WHITESBORO — Whitesboro Fit Body Boot Camp owner Lisa Briggs opened her gym in 2018 with the intent of helping men and women experience workout transformations, as well as providing nutritional guidance, motivation, and support.

Briggs became inspired as she watched members achieve new goals, such as running a 5k or completing a burpee or push-up. Yet, while she witnessed her client’s success, she also witnessed their heartache and struggle as they received unexpected health diagnoses, like cancer.

“One of my first clients died of cancer, and I’ll never forget that. In our role as women, we spend so much time caring for others that an unexpected diagnosis, such as cancer, can be devastating. The truth is, no one can prepare for cancer, and no one should have to.”

After losing her friend and client to cancer, Briggs decided to use her platform to bring awareness to the disease. She used her space and social media to talk about important health facts, raise money for research, and show support for people who were going through breast cancer.

“The past few years, we began honoring women in our gym who’ve faced breast cancer, whether they were survivors or are still battling the disease. It was an important way to bring awareness to these women and what they were fighting. We often stand beside someone and have no idea what they’re going through in their personal lives. Honoring these women was a visual and physical reminder that cancer can happen to any of us,” said Briggs.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 287,850 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of 2022. Of those numbers, it’s estimated that 43,780 will not survive. That staggering number is what Briggs often highlights as she’s talking to her clients, designing pink tank tops, or creating Burpees for Boobies.

“Cancer isn’t a fun subject to discuss. It comes with a lot of emotions and uncomfortable conversations. But, we must have them to help other women survive. Fundraisers like Burpees for Boobies was a fun way to get that conversation going without the heaviness or awkward approach,” Briggs continued.

As part of Whitesboro Fit Body Boot Camp’s Burpees for Boobies fundraiser, the fitness studio raises much-needed funds for women and men battling breast cancer. To add levity to the situation, Briggs invites donors to nominate someone to match their donation in the form of burpees.

“We’ve had people who’ve donated anywhere from $250 to $500 and split their burpee nominations among classes, and individuals who’ve donated $10 and picked out a friend in class or out of state through social media. Seeing how far one dollar goes is amazing, but also seeing the support and feedback behind the women selected is inspiring.

“During last week’s event, one woman was selected to do an extensive amount of burpees. As soon as her classmates heard the number of burpees she had to
complete, they all jumped in and began doing them alongside her. That’s something remarkable about this challenge - it shows women that they’re not alone,” said Briggs.

Last year, Whitesboro Fit Body Boot Camp, at 34 Oriskany Blvd., honored breast cancer survivor Debbie Kuhn Cool. After fighting the disease for nine years, Cool understood the impact cancer had on a person’s mind, body, and family, and chose to make it her mission to help as many women as possible.

“One of the things I quickly learned when diagnosed with breast cancer was that this disease was bigger than me. I’m lucky to be a survivor, but within that, I’ve sadly lost many friends to the disease. Breast cancer affects everyone, and I certainly would not be here without fundraisers, like Burpees for Boobies, that raised money for treatment and cures which saved my life,” Cool stated. “This gym and fundraiser mean so much because it shows women that no one walks alone. We can beat this disease together, but we have to raise money to find more cures so we won’t lose any more women or men to this disease. I know I’m lucky to be a survivor, and I’m grateful that my gym works to help other women become survivors too,” she added.

As Burpees for Boobies supporters continue to grow, Whitesboro Fit Body Boot Camp is committed to raising over $6,000 by the end of October; a thousand dollar increase over their previous donation to Mohawk Valley Health System. One of the ways they’re hoping to increase funds and awareness is through a social media campaign that challenges individuals across the country to take part in Burpee for Boobies.

“The larger we can spread the message the more impactful this fundraiser becomes financially. But, more importantly, the more it develops awareness and reminds women to check themselves and schedule their mammogram appointments,” said Briggs.

For information on how you can donate or participate in Burpees for Boobies, visit their site at:


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