There will be four Burpees for Boobies fund-raisers at area gyms in May.
ORLANDO – It’s a passionate cause that encourages people to open their hearts to a group of people struggling through a very difficult chapter in their lives, a battle against cancer.
It’s also an opportunity to reach out to those individuals and their families and provide them with a strong show of support, care, and compassionate hearts.
“We want to raise money for people who are burdened with this and fighting the good fight,” said Luis Rodriguez Jr., a fitness trainer and independent distributor for the health and wellness firm AdvoCare.
The firm is now lending its support to Compassionate Hands and Hearts, a non-profit organization that’s been extending a helping hand in support of people battling breast cancer since 2007, while also improving the quality of life for those patients and their families.
AdvoCare, the health and wellness company that markets energy, weight-loss, nutrition and sports performance products, will be sponsoring a series of fund-raising and fitness events in May, with the proceeds going to Compassionate Hands and Hearts and its continued good work.
Known as the “Burpees for Boobies” fund-raisers, the schedule for May includes fitness events on:
• Saturday, May 5 at Armor Crossfit, 880-B Maguire Road, Ocoee;
• Saturday, May 12 at Crossfit Kings Point, 7075 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 16, Orlando;
• Saturday, May 19 at Travel Country Outdoors, 1101 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte;
• Saturday, May 26 at Crossfit Country, 572 S. Econ Circle, Oviedo.
Anyone who attends one of these events will be assisting the organization founded by Vanessa Echols, the news anchor at WFTV in Orlando.
“I was thinking how the cross fit community could help, and that’s how this came about,” Rodriguez said.
This is also a great program for anyone who enjoys physical activities and fitness events, said Dave Raith, an AdvoCare nutritional advisor and wellness coach, and one of the organizers of this fund-raising program.
“A burpee is a full body workout,” Raith said. “This is going to be at various gyms all over Central Florida, and it’s going to be a two-hour event where a contestant or competitor pays $10 as a donation to Compassionate Hands and Hearts, and that goes to pay for their t-shirt. All that money goes back to Compassionate Hands and Hearts, which is keeping all their proceeds right here in Central Florida and giving it back to families here.”
Orlando News Anchor Vanessa Echols is one of the original founders of Compassionate Hands and Hearts.
This is exactly how Compassionate Hands and Hearts started out, Echols said: as a way for the entire Central Florida community to help people with breast cancer.
“It started in 2007 with a group of friends who wanted to reach out to cancer patients directly,” Echols said. “I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, so I know what it’s like to walk that path.”
Echols said in her own case, although her parents lived out of state, when she told them about her diagnosis, “They packed up and moved here.”
Having the support of family, friends, and even the larger regional community, she said, makes a huge difference to those taking on this very scary fight.
“We felt if we had one person more to help them out, that really boosts their morale,” Echols said.
In the past four years, Compassionate Hands and Hearts has grown considerably, and its mission has evolved as well, Echols said. It now includes assisting individuals and families who have been economically devastated by large medical bills.
“We’re able to reach out to people in desperate situations,” she said. “We’re still all-volunteer.”
To continue operating that way, Compassionate Hands and Hearts needs the continued support of the community, including assistance on fund-raising, she said.
“We can do what we do because people are so generous with financial donations when we need that,” Echols said. “The wonderful thing is when people hear about what we do, it’s not a tough sell.”
The organizers of Burpees for Boobies are hoping the fund-raisers in May attract that same level of high community support and enthusiasm for this very worthwhile cause.
“There will be a sponsor card, and people take that sponsor card and go to their friends or family or co-workers and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got an event going on for breast cancer, and I’m looking for people to sponsor me,’ “ Raith said.
“It’s up to us to truly make this an incredible series of events in May,” Rodriguez said. “We are the force and the influence that will touch people’s hearts to spark action from the community. Our collective goal is to raise $20,000 for women right here in Central Florida dealing with the stresses of getting healthy and while dealing with the burden of finances. We can make a difference in a huge way for these women.”
Athletes pay $10 to attain a pledge card and receive a t-shirt to wear during the events.
As an added benefit, “In the middle of that, AdvoCare will be sampling products at the events to help people keep themselves fit while they’re doing their exercise,” Raith said.
Echols said she was thrilled when Raith and Rodriguez reached out to her about holding these fund-raisers.
“It means everything to us,” she said. “It means somebody here in Central Florida will have an easier time. All of the money stays local, and it’s going to be fun, and Dave is very excited and enthusiastic about this cause.”
Most of all, she added, “We’re going to be changing some lives here in Central Florida.”
To learn more, please visit for information on the charity. To learn more about the Burpees for Boobies fund-raisers, contact Raith at 407-453-4744 or at
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