Tex Appeal October 2016

Page 41

Story by MANDY SHELTON Photos by JULIE NABOURS and contributed by SALLY PHILLIPS


ally Phillips and her fellow CrossFitters are warming up for Belton’s seventh annual Barbells for Boobs fundraiser Oct. 29 and 30 at Belton Christian Youth Center. Operating under the credo that “everyone has a right to know if they are living with breast cancer,” the Barbells for Boobs grant program channels funds toward providing mammograms for those patients who might otherwise miss out on breast cancer screenings: men, women under the age of 40 and the under- or uninsured. Phillips has been involved with Barbells for Boobs since nearly the beginning, even before the nonprofit had incorporated. In 2009, Zionna “Z” Hanson, who owned a CrossFit affiliate in California, wanted to honor a friend, a breast cancer survivor who had been denied a mammogram before her eventual diagnosis at the age of 26. Hanson led 60 athletes in a fundraising workout, catching the attention of the worldwide CrossFit community. Every October since then, CrossFit athletes gather to raise barbells, raise awareness and raise funds. “It’s fun to put on pink and show up and do a workout,” said Phillips, adding that this year’s event will also feature a 5K glow run in addition to the CrossFit workout. Weightlifting coach Jodi Vaughn and her husband, two-time Olympian Chad Vaughn, will host the Olympic weightlifting portion of the event. Jodi Vaughn said the entire Belton event raises between $24,000 and $35,000 each year. “We kind of go in and out of that range. But it put us in the top ten! We’re a little bit competitive, which is just brilliant on Barbells for Boobs’ part,” she said. “Everything that Barbells for Boobs does is in increments of $80, because that’s what pays for a mammogram,” Phillips added. “CrossFitters are goal-oriented.”

Defeating death When Phillips first started CrossFit, the Ellison High School graduate admits she wasn’t an immediate convert. “I didn’t like it. I was extremely intimidated by all the women that were doing pull-ups,” Phillips said. “The community is what kept me coming back. CrossFit will unite

University of Texas student and Barbells for Boobs advocate Madison Vincent of Belton completes the 30 clean and jerks required as part of the Grace workout during the 2015 Belton event.

Central Texas Barbells for Boobs CrossFit Workout: Oct. 29, 8:30 a.m. Olympic Weightlifting Open Meet: Oct. 29, and Sunday, Oct. 30, all day 5K: Oct. 29, 8 p.m. Belton Christian Youth Center, 505 E. Avenue C, Belton For more information: www.centraltexasbarbellsforboobs.com for a cause and show up in a mighty way.” As she watched Barbells for Boobs gaining speed, Phillips found she could call upon that community for support outside of the box. “I always wanted to do something to honor my mom,” said Phillips, whose mother, Virginia Partida, celebrates 25 years of remission from breast cancer this October. “I would have never guessed something beautiful would come from it.” Phillips remembers Oct. 14, 1991, as the day her mother was diagnosed. “She had gone back for her biopsy, they called all the family in, the doctor comes in and he says, ‘It’s cancer.’ In that moment, it seemed dark and devastating and hopeless and scary,” Phillips said, “But I look at how it’s given us a platform. It feels good to do something about it,

to help others, to help advocate for early diagnosis.” Partida was in her 40s when she learned of her diagnosis. She got the news on a Monday and was scheduled for a mastectomy on Friday. Partida worked as an employee benefits secretary in Killeen Independent School District, and that Wednesday, Oct. 16, 1991, was her last day of work before her mastectomy. She and a co-worker decided to go to lunch at Luby’s. “We were eating and I saw the truck come through the window,” she recalled. George Hennard, 35, had driven his 1987 Ford Ranger through the plate-glass window of the cafeteria. He shot and killed 23 people and injured another 27 before taking his own life. It was the Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM