Some background.

In November of 2016, Samantha Kelly got the devastating news that her then eleven-year-old daughter Charlotte had Cowden Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the body to develop tumor-like growths and with a high probability of further developing certain cancers.

Samantha and Charlotte’s days were filled with doctor’s appointments, surgeries, radioactive iodine treatment, and recovery. One day Samantha saw an ad for a local CrossFit box, Real Fitness, and she decided CrossFit would be a great way to spend quality one-on-one time with her son, James, through this trying time.

“I am far from a natural at it found it really helped me cope with the difficulties we were facing as a family,” Samantha told us. Charlotte loved her time in the box, and with her son, and the community. It gave her an idea.

Charlotte Kelly, who was diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the body to develop tumor-like growths. Photo courtesy of Samantha Kelly.

CrossFit for Cowdens

Cowdens affects an estimated 1 in 250,000 people so Charlotte did the math. That meant around 260 people in the UK, where she lives. She decided to do a workout for each of them in order to raise money in aid of the PTEN Research Foundation, which was founded to find treatments or therapies for PTEN Syndromes. She logs every single workout on her Cure for Cowden’s page. She’s enjoying the process so much that she’s taken it a step further.

Mama gets things done.

She started the Best Box in Britain Throwdown, a charity CrossFit contest that brings the entire box together for one cause over six weeks.

Beginning on January 14th, participating gyms will be emailed a workout every Monday and will have until Friday to complete the WOD. As well as the usual scoring on the WODs there will be bonus points awarded each week for things like the greatest overall age of participants, another week might be widest age range, or most CrossFit beginners having a go at it.

Samantha hopes the friendly competition will bring the community even closer. “We take each day as it comes which you have to with a rare disease but I count myself very lucky to have the community around me,” she told us. “I think without the CrossFit community I would have found it far harder to cope with the past few years. I wouldn’t like to imagine it really.”


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