CrossFit Mandeville takes fundraising personally – and locally.
Lacey Guillot, head coach and event coordinator at CrossFit Mandeville, has witnessed the immense impact philanthropy can have on the gym family. Over the years, the gym’s charitable events have contributed to a variety of national organizations.
However, a few years ago, the team held a fundraiser in honor of a local law enforcement officer who lost his life. His daughter was a gym member – and the response from other members was inspiring.
“Seeing how the funds and support went back into the Northshore community just fueled my desire to do more for the people around us, locally,” Lacey says.
Those who are familiar with CrossFit likely understand the camaraderie that comes along with it. CrossFit gyms are a home away from home, filled with friendships and bonds bound by a love of movement, mental challenge and sweat.
“CrossFit is community based,” Lacey says. “But it’s not just about people who come in and do CrossFit. It’s about the community outside, where we live and work. Our gym is a family, and our family extends beyond the gym.”
CrossFit Mandeville runs several fundraising events throughout the year, including the support of breast cancer in October. After several years of raising funds for a national organization, they decided it was time to ensure the funds would go back to local patients.
Lacey remembered a family member receiving care from Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Covington while battling breast cancer. She knew many others also had connections to the Cancer Center and decided to add the local organization to their annual campaign efforts. The response from gym members was overwhelmingly positive, especially after representatives of the Cancer Center visited for an official check presentation.
“Everyone was so excited to see it going back to help those in their neighborhoods,” she said. “So many people in this area have been touched by breast cancer and have a personal connection to Mary Bird Perkins.”
Unique and Feel-Good Fundraising
For the first time in 2023, CrossFit Mandeville will Geaux Pink are all-in for Mary Bird Perkins. Rather than splitting with other organizations, 100 percent of the funds raised by the CrossFit Mandeville community will go back to the Cancer Center and directly impact local cancer patients.
The CrossFit brand has a standard workout used across the country for annual national campaigns like supporting breast cancer. CrossFit Mandeville has followed the workout format – 30 barbell clean and jerks – each year. The workout runs in heats every 20 minutes from about 8 a.m. to noon. Anyone who wants to participate can donate an amount of their choosing and join in.
They have also built out a profitable silent auction and raffle to go along with the in-gym events. But that wasn’t enough for them.
After being inspired by a video on social media, Lacey added an exciting – and entertaining – element to the event. When the workouts are finished, the fun begins. A group of male members from the gym, and other men in the community who want to participate, model a series of custom and homemade bras for a makeshift fashion show.
The men get to sashay down the runway – a pink runner laid out on the gym floor – modeling their moves inside bars wrapped in festive pink ribbon. Each man has a dedicated bucket for collecting donations – and bragging rights.
In the fashion show’s inaugural year, Lacey wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. But the guys let their instincts take over and each attempted to outdo the other with unique and hilarious dance moves, up to and including the worm.
“They choose their walkout song and have so much fun with it,” Lacey says “You’ll see everyone laughing and running to put money in the guy’s buckets. It’s just gotten better each year.”
“You’re Not A Burden.”
Lacey’s message to cancer patients is clear: “You’ve built your village, and you’re not a burden on anyone. Take care of yourself and know that your people are going to take care of you.”
While she admits CrossFit members love any excuse to challenge themselves physically, it’s not about the workout. “At the end of the day, it’s about the cause and how we can help the people around us,” she says.
For others looking for unique ways to Geaux Pink and support breast cancer patients, Lacey says knowing your community is important. “Create the atmosphere. Create the safe space,” she says. “Take a risk. And then change it if it doesn’t work out. Know your people and don’t be afraid to have fun with them.”
The CrossFit Mandeville team has seen up to nearly 100 people come through the gym to support breast cancer and hopes that each year more people will be encouraged to participate. They would love to see the Geaux Pink fundraiser eventually outgrow the gym, as the event is open to members and non-members. A need for a bigger space means a much bigger impact for local breast cancer patients.
For more information on how to sign up at CrossFit Mandeville or donate, contact Lacey Guillot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (985) 951-2255.
To host your own Geaux Pink event, start a fundraiser or make a donation to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in your area, visit https://marybird.org/giving/geauxpink/.