Those who lift together, stay together

Signal Hill crossfit gym to host Dia de Los Muertos celebration to raise money for recovering member


Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune

Lakewood resident Sandy Bond is hosting a Dia de Los Muertos event on Saturday, Nov. 2 to celebrate the grand reopening of her crossfit gym Los Amigos Strength and Fitness center in Signal Hill. The event will act as both a grand-opening ceremony and a fundraising event to support a loyal gym member who suffered a terrifying freeway accident.

Sandy Bond and Carlos Cueva have been in the fitness business since 2013. The Lakewood residents originally worked with multiple clients to help them achieve their workout goals out of Bond’s garage.

But when the small gym’s membership number grew to 30 people, Bond and Cueva decided it was time to find a bigger workout studio.

“My neighbors were great, but we decided we should probably move on,” Bond said.

The crossfit duo now operates the Los Amigos Strength and Fitness Crossfit Gym out of 3299 E. Hill St. at Hathaway Business Park in Signal Hill. They moved into the new space in July, and the gym’s staff now consists of three trainers. The space is also rented out to personal trainers who bring their clients to the facility to workout.

As part of the gym’s reopening, Bond and Cuevas are preparing to host a Dia de Los Muertos themed event on Nov. 2 to celebrate the gym’s opening and their Mexican roots. The event is free and open to the public, but the festivities are more than just a ribbon cutting.

Bond and Cuevas told the Signal Tribune the celebration will also serve as a fundraising opportunity to raise money for their loyal gym-goer, Oscar Rivera, who suffered a severe car accident while driving to Las Vegas with his family in July.

“He was on his way to Vegas, and the back tire blew,” Bond said. “His car flipped, and he must have hit his head.”

Bond added that crews struggled to remove Rivera from the wreckage and he couldn’t open his eyes nor speak. He was flown via helicopter to a hospital in Las Vegas.

Originally from Long Beach, Rivera had to remain hospitalized in Las Vegas and could not return home for fear of further injuring his body and head.

Rivera’s daughter, Linda Rivera, has been keeping Bond and Cuevas informed of her father’s recovery. According to her, the doctor’s said that Rivera’s high fitness levels are the main reason he is making major strides toward his recover, but the road to full health is a long one. Rivera’s family started a GoFundMe page in July to help pay for his medical costs.

Bond said that local business, such as Whole Foods, Ruggable, Steelhead coffee, USC and Nutrishop, have pitched in items that will be raffled off during the event on Nov. 2. All the proceeds will go toward Rivera.

“Our hope is to use this as an opportunity to get numbers and people so that they can contribute in the raffle,” Cuevas said. “So we can give it to him.”

The event will also feature live music, food and drinks and a face-painting station.

Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
Carlos Cuevas, co-owner of the Los Amigos Strength and Fitness crossfit gym in Signal Hill, talks about the “ofrenda” or altar put on display for the gym. The gym’s theme, Dia de Los Muertos, pays tribute to Cuevas’ Mexican upbringing.

To stay true to the Mexican tradition, the gym also set up a community “ofrenda” or altar that honors friends and family members that have died.

Gym-goers are invited to bring photos of relatives, friends and even pets to honor their memory.

For more information on the Los Amigos Strength and Fitness crossfit gym, visit their social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.