Hollywood Stars join CrossFit Games Athletes to Support Battle Cancer

May 21, 2020 by
Photo credit: Battle Cancer
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What do Matt Damon, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, and Tia Clair-Toomey have in common? They’re all featured in the new video supporting Battle Cancer’s Move Forward program.

The video is aimed at raising awareness and funding for the cancer charity. In the face of the global pandemic, cancer charities have lost as much as 90% of funding and donations, and public interest has dwindled.

From Aromas to Asgard: The video, released yesterday by the nonprofit Battle Cancer in partnership with WIT, features a number of well-known CrossFit Games athletes alongside A-list Hollywood actors. Together, they repeat the phrase “through Battle Cancer, you’re not alone” as one man, Craig McIvor, tells his story of fighting cancer himself. The promotional video hopes to shed light on the organization’s Move Forward program — a newer initiative that promotes health and fitness for individuals battling and in remission from cancer.

  • Battle Cancer Founder, Scott Britton: “Those undergoing treatment, loss and recovery due to cancer over the past few months have never felt so alone and pushed aside. At Battle Cancer we have fought to tell people around the world that they are not alone and to have the backing of some of the world’s biggest stars across so many industries delivering this message is testament to the power of support.”

Here’s how the Move Forward program works:

  • First, Battle Cancer partners with a local box and offers 10 weeks of CrossFit Classes to cancer survivors in the community. Classes are offered at off-hours and Battle Cancer pays the boxes and coaches for their time. The charity also covers the athletes’ expenses to get to/from classes.
  • At the end of the 10 weeks, Battle Cancer picks two participants and sends him/her to a Level 1 Certification course. 
  • After getting certified, that coach then recommits to teaching the next wave of Move Forward classes so that the athletes taking the next course can have a mentor in place who has already gone through everything they’re facing — from cancer treatments to their first CrossFit classes.

“We’re passionate about the sustainability of the program, and survivors helping survivors,” says Britton. “Aside from improvement in fitness and quality of life, for some, it has even gone so far as to save their lives.”

Battling cancer in a COVID-19 world: Battle Cancer has been around for three years and has hosted competitions all over the world to benefit cancer survivors and their families, friends, and allies. But with the global pandemic, large-scale events and competitions are no longer in the cards.

  • “At first, COVID19 knocked us sideways. We were in LA halfway through our US fundraising tour and on a massive high following our Lift for Life challenge at Wodapalooza,” says Britton.
  • “Suddenly our events came crashing down around us. Like so many other small businesses – gym owners, events and comps in the industry – the financial impact was hard and sudden,” he continued
  • “Cancer patients’ treatments are being postponed and they are among the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19. It’s actually given us the perfect moment to take stock, consider Battle Cancer’s purpose beyond our fundraising events, and concentrate on the incredible work Move Forward can do when gyms are open again.”

In order to grow in the future, the Move Forward program needs a push in awareness and funding. Luckily, when some influential Hollywood actors and athletes learned about the program and its mission, they were all too happy to help.

In fact, the charity got SO many submissions from well-known actors and athletes outside of the CrossFit world, they put together several versions of the video. Others include actor Michael Fassbender, singer/songwriter Niall Horan, soccer player Dani Alves, and MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre.

  • “It’s indescribable. To be given the backing of such powerful names in the CrossFit industry, Hollywood and beyond is something we never expected! It’s given us a chance to spread our message further than we ever thought possible,” says Britton.

All eyes on CrossFit: Having a number of global celebrities like the Hemsworth brothers featured in the video alongside well-known CrossFitters puts new eyes on the sport of fitness and its impact on global health and wellness.

  • The Move Forward program was built based on research from CLIC Sargent’s Move Forward initiative — a study examining the impact of a 10-week CrossFit program on the fitness and quality of life with teenage and young adult cancer survivors.
  • The study found that the experimental group saw an overwhelming improvement in physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning, as well as a reduction in fatigue, appetite loss, and financial difficulties.

It’s a story about the benefits of CrossFit-style training that we know all too well. But not everyone has heard it yet. And incorporating well-known celebrities into this type of messaging may help spread the word far beyond our CF microcosm.

  • “Move Forward is something that we’ve seen change lives before our eyes. We’ve seen first hand how lives are transformed physically, mentally and emotionally post-cancer treatment with the program. We just want to be able to grow the program and mobilize it to local gym communities in cities across the world so that more people can benefit,” says Britton.

So how can you help?: “We are currently fundraising to put Battle Cancer Move Forward into gyms when they re-open. It takes about $86000 (£7000) to run a program for a year in one location, but once that donation has been made, the program is self-sufficient because cancer survivors train to help the next wave of attendees. Rather than asking for constant hand-outs, the program empowers local communities to develop a sustainable initiative that keeps giving. This shared experience of cancer is key to the program’s success because coaches inspire their athletes in a way no one else can,” says Britton.

  • “The best way for people to get involved is to make a donation, big or small, to kickstart a program. People thinking about signing up to a Battle Cancer event can also choose to fundraise for Move Forward!”

Learn more and donate at Battle Cancer’s website.

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