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DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver fitness icon is taking a break from leading gym classes to battle stage 3 breast cancer. 

Before starting her fight with cancer, Compass fitness co-founder Heather Harrington wants to leave the community with an important lesson.

On her final classes Saturday morning, she opened up with something weighing heavy on her heart.

“I went couple of weeks ago to get my first mammogram, my doctor said not until you’re 45, I said ‘no I want it now,’” Harrington said to her fitness community.

Harrington just turned 41 in August. She has a family history of cancer and had a feeling she shouldn’t wait to get tested.

“Turns out I have stage 3 breast cancer and I will be going through chemo and a bilateral mastectomy,” she said. 

Harrington always tells the students in her fitness classes to listen to their body.

The mother of a 5-year-old daughter is happy she practiced what she preaches in this situation.

“You always have to advocate for yourself, if something doesn’t feel right it’s probably not right,” she said.

With the support of the Compass community, friends and family, Harrington is confident she will beat cancer quickly and head right back to the gym.

“I have to continue to look like this is just a blip in my road, this is a speed bump and I will get through this no problem,” she said, adding “The worst of my worries is going to be when my daughter starts dating.”

“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,” Compass Fitness Co-Owner Taylor Ames said. 

Harrington’s Compass family created a GoFundMe to support her during this battle.