, March 07, 2016 | More Post by

For Elisha Villanueva and Anna Snyder, two entrepreneurs and fitness fanatics in California, love truly knows no Flex it Pink - Elisha and Annabounds. The two are co-founders of Flex it Pink (FIP), a community dedicated to empowering women through motivational fitness gear, healthy eating, and exercise. They are also helping to make the world a better place, one virtual marathon at a time.

Virtual marathons are a hot new way to raise funds and work out. Instead of gathering hundreds of walkers or runners at the same location at the same time, virtual marathons allow participants to log miles anywhere over the course of several days. FIP currently sponsors 5K and 10K races and they encourage people all over the world to join them as they run, walk, bike, and hike their way to the finish line.

As entrepreneurs, Elisha and Anna understand the importance of supporting other small organizations, which is why they partner with grassroots nonprofits for their virtual marathons. A Google search led the two to Beyond Boobs!

“I searched online and the name Beyond Boobs! popped out at me from the search results,” said Elisha. “The co-founders, Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch, were two women helping other women, and we really connected with that. The group caught our eye and our hearts.”

Elisha and Anna had run a virtual marathon before, but in October 2013 they organized their very first fundraising virtual marathon to benefit BB! They weren’t sure how many people would turn out to support the event, so they created 10 medals to award to participants. They were surprised and pleased when 80 people took part in the event and raised money for the work BB! does to provide support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

If the 80 participants in 2013 knocked Elisha’s and Anna’s sweat socks off, the 750 people who took part in the 2014 virtual marathon to support BB! was an even better surprise. In 2015 the race roster swelled to 1,500 participants.

“Breast cancer touches the lives of so many people,” said Anna. “Lots of survivors take part in the virtual marathons, and others run in honor of someone they know who passed away from breast cancer.”

The two will be organizing another virtual marathon to support BB! this October and they invite everyone to register. “Exercise does wonders for everyone at any age and stage of life,” said Anna.

“We love boobs and every fall we love running for the boobies,” added Anna. “The women of Beyond Boobs! are amazing. They are so super sweet and supportive.”

Every year Elisha and Anna receive a handwritten letter from the group thanking them for raising money to help support the BB! mission. “We really appreciate the personal touches,” Elisha said. “Even though we have never met the women of Beyond Boobs! in person, we still feel like we are all friends.”

For more information about Flex it Pink, visit their website at www.flexitpink.com. To keep up to date on upcoming virtual marathons or to register to participate in a virtual event, follow Elisha and Anna on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


, March 02, 2016 | More Post by


Holly Carlson met fellow Boober! Juanita Lee at her very first Not Your Typical Support group meeting. Right away Holly realized she and Juanita both saw the humorous side of the world. “The first thing I noticed about Juanita was her amazing sense of humor,” Holly said. “She sat a few people down from me, we got to talking, and that’s all she wrote.”

Holly Carlson HeadshotHolly and Juanita’s friendship quickly grew beyond the regular meetings. In addition to a breast cancer diagnosis, the two also shared careers in education. Holly, a retired French teacher, would often visit Juanita for lunch at the school where she worked as a teacher’s assistant.Juanita Lee Headshot

Like their students, Holly and Juanita looked forward to taking a break from routine and having fun. They were roomies one summer at a BB! retreat in the Outer Banks and they made the most of their time at the beach, sitting on the shore and laughing as the saltwater splashed their legs before rushing back out to sea. “I don’t know what was so funny,” Holly said, “but we just laughed our heads off.”

Back in Williamsburg the friends would often hop in Holly’s husband’s blue Honda convertible and go for drives along the Colonial Parkway. Their voices mixed with the wind as they sang My Heart Will Go On along with Celine Dion.

Holly and Juanita both enjoyed going to the movies and Holly vividly recalls one day when the two of them went to The Movie Tavern in Williamsburg to watch The Help. Holly, who is white, and Juanita, who was black, spent several hours after the movie discussing race relations. “We were there so long that the movie theater staff cleaned up and started turning off the lights,” Holly said.

Holly was in shock when BB! cofounder Mary Beth Gibson called her on June 25, 2014, to tell her Juanita had passed away. “Mary Beth wanted to be sure I didn’t hear about it on Facebook,” Holly explained. “I was so torn up by Juanita’s death.”

Whenever she thinks of the friendship she and Juanita shared, Holly smiles. “We loved to laugh,” she said. “The kind of laugh where your whole face scrunches up and you have to hold your stomach. Juanita and I had a blast together and I will always miss her.”