24 Workouts, 24 Hours: Gym Owner Raises $12,000 for Haitian Orphanage

January 27, 2021 by
Image - Corey Lewis
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A year ago Corey Lewis took a humanitarian trip to an orphanage in Haiti, he returned home feeling the need to help the over 40 children who resided there. Two weeks ago he did just that as he and three others did 24 workouts during a 24 hour span to raise awareness and money for the Brace for Impact 46, a non-profit foundation which supports the orphanage.

CrossFit Connection: Lewis went on that mission as a guest of Kyle McClellan, founder of Brace for Impact 46. McClellan started the nonprofit after he retired as a Major League Baseball player. He and his wife wanted to help not only their local community in St. Louis, MO but outside the midwest. 

  • Lewis and McClellan met through mutual friends and their love for CrossFit, Lewis as the owner Xtra-Mile Fitness in Fenton, MO and McClellan who picked up CrossFit after retiring from his 12-year baseball career.

Making a “Impact”: Brace for Impact 46 supports the IDADEE Children’s Home in Haiti and sustains community development in that local community. The foundation also assists inner city youths and development in St. Louis.

  • Lewis wanted to concentrate his efforts on the orphanage and set out to try to bring awareness to that, specifically getting as many children a sponsor.
  • Sponsors could elect to make yearly or monthly donations to a child that would provide them clothing, educational tools, food, the essentials that children need.
  • Lewis was hoping to get 20 children sponsored through his efforts.
  • “The kids are our priority,” said McClellan. “If we can get all the kids sponsored through acts of kindness like what Corey has done, then we can work on raising money for other things that the orphanage needs, whether it be improvements on their buildings or bringing in more resources whether it be more teachers or doctors for care.”
Image – Athlete’s Eye

24 hours of fitness: Lewis along with his friend Jeremy Mullins, a nutritionist at nearby 1st Phorm, started brainstorming ideas after their trip to Haiti.

  • “It was kind of a random thing,” said Lewis. “Jeremy mentioned the idea to me in the summer last year as a way to challenge ourselves, but with all the Covid stuff we had kind of dropped it. Then around Thanksgiving I got to thinking about how I could help Brace for Impact, who had a very hard year and I remembered the conversation about 24 workouts in 24 hours that Jeremy and I had. I knew it was something I had not seen done and it was crazy enough to draw attention to the amazing work the Brace for Impact does.”
  • Lewis and Mullins were soon joined by one of his coaches at Xtra-Mile, Abraham Whitehead and Estevenson Coleman, Program Manager for Brace for Impact 46. 
  • On Jan. 15 all four gathered at Xtra-Mile to begin their 24-hour fitness journey, with each live-streaming their journey on their Instagram channels.
  • From 7pm Friday evening to the 7pm the following day, the four would perform one workout per hour.
  • The workouts ranged from AMRAPS, EMOMs, rowing, rucks and partner WODs.
  • “The hardest part was the overnight hours,” said Lewis. “We kicked off the event at 7pm on Friday but we had all been up since before 7am that morning. So that 2am to 6am window Saturday morning it was very tough mentally and physically.”
  • McClellan joined the four for a workout on Friday evening, completing five rounds of six ring dips, nine slam balls and 12 slam ball step-overs.
  • Gym members and others from the community jumped in throughout the 24-hour period.
  • “I would say the hardest workout was ‘GI Joe’ that we did at 4am Saturday,” said Lewis. “It’s 50 Burpee pull ups which is tough in itself but then combined with all the workouts before it and being in the middle of the night it was way harder than normal.”
  • The foursome along with a host of supporters completed their final workout, a 20 minute AMRAP of 21 Cal row, 15 power cleans and nine burpee box jumps.

The pay-off: By the final workout, Lewis had not only learned they had reached their goal of 20 children sponsored, but surpassed it with a total of 32 kids receiving a sponsor.

  • Along with the sponsorships they were able to raise over $2,000 in one-time donations from various donors.
  • Altogether Lewis has raised just over $12,000 for Brace for Impact 46.
  • “The fitness community for our organization has been huge,” said McClellan. “For example our friends over at 1st Phorm have been enormous supporters and advocates of ours through this process. This community is so unique because they like challenges. They’re not afraid to work hard and set goals and achieve them, so our foundation has found a home in this amazing community and we hope to do more things like what Corey is doing in the future.”
  • Brace for Impact 46 is still looking for more children to be sponsored and offer many ways to do that whether it’s a monthly pledge or a one-time pledge.
  • “My goal for next year is to grow this event even bigger,” said Lewis. “By then Covid should be past us and I would like to make it a bigger event with members and spectators at Xtra-Mile. I would also like to grow it at other gyms. The CrossFit community is so amazing and I think if people see the impact that we can have on so many kids in Haiti just by doing workouts and having fun that they will be on board.” 

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