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A mother fights for her life with her Crossfit army behind her

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-24 23:23:02-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A West Michigan woman devoted to living a healthy and fit lifestyle got some unexpected news. She would go on to face stage 3 lymphoma cancer right after she gave birth to her first son. Now her fitness community is rallying for her fight against the disease, and they are doing it in the best way they know how: sweating.

Andrea Andersen’s diagnosis came shortly after she gave birth to her first child, and expensive medical bills were never part of their plan. Crossfit 616 in Grand Rapids on Turner Avenue decided to put on an event to help them out, and now it’s snow balled into something bigger than they have imagined, and you’re invited.

Andrea Anderen is still crushing her workouts three to four times a week. She even still commits to working out on Fridays, which is when she receives her chemo infusions.

“Today is lots of nausea and lots of fuzzy head feeling,” said Andersen.

Despite the pain, she’s doing it with her husband and her son, Graham, by her side, and her very own army behind her. Friday, her fellow gym-goers wore T-shirts they purchased in support of Andersen’s fight. The T-shirts read “Andersen’s Army”.

“I think it’s humbling to see how much support there is,” said Anderson.

Crossfit 616 is inviting Andrea’s army and anyone who wants to 'enlist' to get to their gym on Turner Avenue tomorrow at 9:30 am, sharp. Brian Orpallo is the founder and owner of the crossfit gym.

“It’s more than just about lifting weights or working out. We want to be there for each other and support each other,” said Orpallo.

Crossfit 616 is rallying for as much support for the Andersen’s as possible. Andersen has 7 chemo infusions to go, and even though she's fighting this head on, it's not cheap.

“There is about $5,000 in medical bills that were sitting on our table and they just keep rolling in, so its difficult,” said Andersen.

The event will start with a workout, then a BBQ, followed by a raffle with some surprise events sprinkled in. The Crossfit gym can't believe how many people have stepped up to help.

“It kind of just snowballed and took on a life of its own. We just sat back and watched stuff roll in. I can't believe the amount of things we have had. There are 25 pairs of wolverine boots. The chiropractor I go see gave a free year of treatment, and people just out of the blue are offering their services,” said Orpallo.

Even Crossfit headquarters in California donated $500  directly to the Andersens. Crossfit 616 is also using the "hashtag" to the Andersen’s advantage. Every time someone has been hashtagging #aandersensarmy, Crossfit 616 donates $1 towards the family.

“I get choked up thinking about it, honestly. When I look back four years ago and then today seeing this happen, and seeing support from everybody, it's the people in this gym and the members in this gym that are making it happen,” said Orpallo.

Even if you're not part of the gym, or you're not into Crossfit, or fitness for that matter, you're most likely into winning prizes and food.

“Check out all the cool stuff we have to offer and bring your wallets and spend money,” said Orpallo.

All the proceeds from this even are going directly to the Andersens.

If you want to know more about Crossfit 616 and the event tomorrow click here.

If you are interested in donating to the Andersens click here, and if you are interested in learning more about their story click here. 

To see our original piece on the Andersens click here.