The Power-Lifting Community with a Heart for Pets

To say that Surge to New Levels Gym in Carol Stream is an animal-friendly gym is a bit of an understatement.

Not only can the 400-some-odd members of this 12,000-square-foot gym bring their pets with them when they work out, the community also hosts an annual fundraiser, Doggos and Deadlifts, that has raised an impressive sum in just two years to benefit Anderson Humane.

The second annual Doggos and Deadlifts happened earlier this month. Here’s how it worked: Each lifter at this non-sanctioned power-lifting event got sponsors to donate $25 for each successful of three lifting attempts. This year, 23 lifters participated and drummed up sponsorships totaling nearly $5,500. Sergio Luna, the gym founder and owner, was thrilled by “the incredibly positive response.”

Sergio runs the gym with his wife, Jackie, and they have sought ways to give back to the community since they launched their business in 2015. Both animal lovers, they learned about Anderson Humane when shopping for their three dogs – Delilah, Lily, and Mr. Apples (known as “Bub”) – at the Bloomingdale Petco, which houses one of our adoption centers.

With an animal-friendly gym filled with many animal lovers, they figured supporting Anderson Humane would be a great fit. Since Surge to New Levels is well-known throughout the area as a power-lifting gym, a deadlifting event was a logical choice for the fundraiser.

“One member lifted over 800 pounds!” Sergio said, adding that he was prepping for an upcoming competition. Still, Sergio said they “kept it fun and lighthearted,” exercising leniency in what was considered a successful lift attempt. It was for the animals, after all.

Anderson Humane brought some animals available for adoption, and two of them found their forever families at the event. A 2-year-old German Shepherd mix named Coda went home with a gym member. A kitten went home with one of the attendees.

The sponsors were just as responsive. One gym member sponsored all 23 participants, donating a little over $1,500 by the end of the event. Combining this year’s sponsorships with those from last year’s inaugural event, Doggos and Deadlifts has raised nearly $10,000 for Anderson Humane.

“We’re so glad to give back,” said Sergio. “It’s great to see our people coming together for a good cause.”

Anderson Humane is grateful to this impressively strong and compassionate community for their support. We can’t wait to see what new levels you surge to next year!

Does your group want to sponsor an event to benefit Anderson Humane? Contact us at

Photo by Jessica Wight Photography.

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