Heather Harrington is a fitness icon and the cofounder of Compass Fitness in Denver. She has a family history of breast cancer, so when she turned 41, she insisted on getting a mammogram, despite the fact that her doctor didn’t recommend one until age 45.
“I went a couple of weeks ago to get my first mammogram,” Heather recalls. “My doctor said not until you’re 45. I said, ‘No I want it now.'”
Heather’s hunch was right. “Turns out I have stage 3 breast cancer, and I will be going through chemo and a bilateral mastectomy,” she says.
After her diagnosis, Heather was forced to take a break from teaching gym classes in order to receive treatment for her disease. But while she will miss her students, she hopes to teach them an important lesson in her absence: always listen to your body.
“You always have to advocate for yourself,” Heather says. “If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right.”
Heather, who is the mother of a five-year-old daughter, believes that she’ll have no problem beating cancer with the help of her amazing support system, many of which she met through Compass Fitness. She expects to be back at the gym in no time.
“I have to continue to look like this is just a blip in my road,” she says. “This is a speed bump, and I will get through this no problem. The worst of my worries is going to be when my daughter starts dating.”
Heather’s friends at Compass Fitness have started a GoFundMe to help her fund her cancer treatment, and they’ve already raised several thousand dollars. It’s their way of saying showing their support for the woman who has encouraged them to do their best.
“Her ability to show up for people and to take a really horrible thing and make it funny and about the community, not about herself, that’s what we’ve come to expect from Heather,” says Compass Fitness co-owner Taylor Ames.
Get well soon, Heather! We know you can kick cancer with such a great team for support!
Check out the video below to learn more.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?