, Salem, MA

October 25, 2012

Trainers hold fundraiser in survivor's honor

By Cheryl Lecesse STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — BEVERLY — Theresa DeFrancis’ battle with breast cancer has inspired a fitness fundraising event next month.

Holly Leonard and Jane Drinkwater, fitness trainers and co-owners of BeFit Health and Wellness in Beverly, are hosting BeFit for Boobs and naming their workout for the day after DeFrancis, one of their clients.

“They have just been so incredibly supportive of me, it’s not anything I expected,” DeFrancis said. “It just speaks to their awareness of their clients. They’re just incredibly thoughtful people.”

The event is part of a national campaign called Barbells for Boobs, which encourages businesses and organizations to hold fitness-related fundraisers across the country. The money raised supports Mammograms in Action, a nonprofit that provides grant funding for low-income men and women to undergo preventative and diagnostic screenings.

Leonard and Drinkwater’s event is scheduled for 8 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at their new studio at 128 Park St., Beverly.

DeFrancis had trained with Drinkwater after being diagnosed with a breast disease. Her workouts went well — she even completed a 5K run — until she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a hysterectomy. She lost touch with Drinkwater, but by chance ran into her at Salem Common.

“I was in even worse condition this time around,” said DeFrancis, who had gained back all of the weight she had lost and then some.

So Drinkwater and Leonard started DeFrancis out slow, focusing on exercises that would help her rebuild her core muscles and strengthen her balance.

“Both Holly and Jane would make a special workout for me and knew exactly what I was doing,” DeFrancis said. “Now I’m at the point where I can do everything that everybody else was doing.”

Drinkwater and Leonard will be leading the exercise portions of the event, which will also feature raffles, a chair massage, vendors and fitness clothing for sale. Residents of all fitness levels are invited to attend.

“We’re going to make it movements that we can easily teach people,” Leonard said. “It’s really about having fun, working out for a good cause, and anybody can do it whether they’ve been working out with us or not.”

Organizers are requesting a $25 donation to Mammograms for Action. Every $80 raised will pay for a mammogram, and Leonard said they hope to raise at least $2,000 for the organization.

Participants can sign up in advance at BeFit’s website,