Philly Fitness Community Rises to Support Spin Instructor Whose Sister Was Killed

A community ride in support of Jessica Sullivan is scheduled for May 6.

Russell Carter (left) is the owner of Body Cycle Studio, who is leading a ride in honor of Jessica Sullivan (right), the Body Cycle Studio manager. Photograph courtesy Jessica Sullivan.

A family death is never easy — even more so when it’s under tragic circumstances that have made national headlines.

Jessica Sullivan is the manager at Rittenhouse’s Body Cycle Studio, one of the city’s longest-running spin studios. As a fixture on the local health and wellness scene — Sullivan trains private clients and participates in the Philly Spin-In at CHOP — she has touched a lot of lives.

Sullivan is also the sister of Meredith Chapman, who was murdered in her home in Radnor on April 23rd.

Now, the Philadelphia fitness community is rising to support Sullivan during her time of grieving. Friends of Sullivan have started a GoFundMe, which has raised $18,059, surpassing its goal in eight days. The GoFundMe description explains that as a trainer, Sullivan “supports herself on a client-by-client basis,” and that the donations will be used by Sullivan to pay her bills while she takes time off from training to grieve.

“We don’t make a lot as trainers and teachers. This is a job that’s taxing on the body and mind and has to be done for straight passion and love, even when it means a 13-hour day,” says Juliet Sabella, owner of The Wall Fitness in Manayunk. “That is what Jessica Sullivan does for the fitness industry.”

To further support Sullivan, her home studio, Body Cycle Studio, is hosting a ride at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6th, with a suggested donation of $20. Pure Fare will donate lunches to all participants, and the ride will be led by Body Cycle owner Russell Carter and instructor Jenna Stern. 

“She truly is the heartbeat of our studio, and it’s been pretty tough without her these last couple of weeks,” says Stern. “Her energy and beautiful spirit helps to bring life to our space. She’s a friend, a mentor, and simply put a very special human being. Anyone who has taken a class or trained with her knows that firsthand.”

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: