Let’s take a moment to flashback to the whole burpee for boobies movement – do you guys remember that? Some of you might be learning about it for the first time, and let me tell you this is what started my cancer journey on the right foot. Who knew it was even possible to start a cancer journey on the right foot – I know – but it turns out you can.
The day after my bilateral mastectomy my girlfriend, and partner in crime – Ms. Jenn Brennan – came to me with an idea to put together a Facebook group where people could share their support all in one place. Since we both have a personal training and bootcamp business background, it only made sense to build some kind of fitness challenge around it.
Alas, Burpees for Boobies was created.
Now, truthfully at first I had a hard time with this whole concept. I know that people were trying to donate money to my family and I, and this is something that didn’t feel right to me. I felt like there were so many other people who needed it more, or that I didn’t deserve it, we’d be fine… it just overall all felt kind of icky. BUT, it was just a story I was creating in my own head and with lot’s of discussion I had to just let it happen – because if this situation was happening to anyone in my life I’d tell them to shut up and just let people do what they want to do!
Plus I was on a lot of painkillers… like a lot. So I didn’t have a whole lot of strong ground to stand on. In fact, this whole conversation isn’t something I remember – I was told a couple days later how it all came about when I started explaining it to people. Turns out I didn’t have the story right!
Anyways, where was I? Painkillers…. Oh yes. Thank goodness for painkillers.
I think I’m off topic.
30 Burpees for 30 days. Post the video on the Facebook group. That’s it!
We chose burpees because they happen to be my favourite exercise. Seriously. When I was training to do my Spartan Races (obstacle course race) I had to really focus on burpees. For every obstacle you can’t complete you need to do 30 chest-to-ground burpees, and let me tell you – they add up! I was so terrified going into my first race that I’d be doing hundreds of burpees that I really focused on not dying from them. They got easier, I got better at them and this is when my personal fitness took a massive turn. My body had never been so fit, and I had never been able to do so much.
All because of burpees. So, that was the inspiration and the reason why we chose 30.
PLUS – this surgery meant I could no longer do burpees. I’d be able to do them one day again, after I’ve fully recovered from multiple surgeries over the course of a year or longer… but until then, it’s something I can’t do anymore.
One of the greatest parts of this group was that anyone could be a part of it. You could donate your time, energy, funds, message, support – whatever felt right to you. There was no pressure, just a whole lot of encouragement!
We had no idea what it would turn in to. I couldn’t believe all the people who were participating, posting vulnerable videos, trying burpees for the first time, sticking to it every single day, getting creative with locations, costumes, music and style! It was incredible. In a few days the group grew as big as 1700 people and hundreds of videos were being posted everyday.
I know, because I watched every single one. Literally.
I really wanted to watch every video, and comment on them, because I wanted everyone to know how much it meant to me that they were taking the time to support me in some way.
After my surgery I expected to be binge watching Netflix, movies, etc. But NO! I was binge watching these burpee videos. It made such a difference in my recovery to be in contact with so many people rooting for me. I felt like I was still working in some way, motivating people to get moving, and to do something good for themselves!
I was touched that entire families were getting involved, kids, grandparents, parents… Entire companies were getting involved, soccer teams, dance studios, play groups… My daughters school had a Burpee day where the whole school did them in their gymnasium, and my son’s daycare had their whole class of crazy toddlers and brave teachers do them as well!
GUYS – THERE WAS A BURPEE FLASH MOB! In Newmarket, a ton of people showed up on a particularly dreary day just to do burpees in public. It was incredible. Did you know that being a part of a flash mob was something on my list of things to do in life? Well it was, and now it’s checked off. (Featured image is from that day!)
These burpees were coming from everywhere around me, and it was honestly the most touching experience of my entire life. I am so grateful. It was impossible to be in a bad mood, feel sorry for myself or be super negative when I had all this positivity and support coming at me from so many different angles.
So, this group still lives on Facebook if you want to check it out. I do still, and I hope to one day resurrect it! Perhaps around the time I need to have my next major surgery once chemo and radiation is complete….muah hahahaha…
Consider yourselves warned.