CrossFit Games

CrossFit Partners with Battle Cancer to Hold Functional Fitness Fundraising Events for Cancer Charities

May 16, 2021 by
Photo credit: Battle Cancer
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Battle Cancer is now an official CrossFit partner and its fundraising events are now The Battle Cancer CrossFit Challenges. 

Starting in July, every Battle Cancer event will be licensed by CrossFit in hopes of raising money and amplifying the Battle Cancer mission “to inspire, support and unite people with one goal: kicking cancer into the dust.”

The details: Battle Cancer is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for cancer charities through functional fitness fundraising events. 

  • The Battle Cancer CrossFit Challenge series will kick off with the Battle Cancer Belfast event on July 31, 2021, and will be followed by events in Manchester, Toulouse, Berlin, and London coming later in the summer and into the fall. The non-profit also plans to take the challenge abroad into the US through a tour that brings the challenge into classes at local CrossFit boxes. 
  • Using CrossFit’s methodology and workout accessibility, teams of four will take on four nine-minute CrossFit workouts incorporating teamwork, high-intensity cardio, “FUN-ctional fitness”, and bodyweight exercises. Teams are scored on the amount of money they raise for a cancer charity of their choice alongside their placement in the workouts. 

Why it matters: In 2020, an estimated 1.2 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the US alone. Through CrossFit’s strong presence in the health and fitness world alongside the strength of the CrossFit community, Battle Cancer’s mission will be amplified globally. 

  • “Most people who’ve had cancer treatment will be told no all the time,” Scott Britton, the founder and director of Battle Cancer, said. “Whereas the CrossFit community will say, ‘if you’ve had cancer, we will welcome you in.’”
  • Individuals with cancer are continuously viewed as cancer patients but Britton said that CrossFit gyms create support for everyone no matter what they are dealing with. Cancer survivors become an athlete, not a patient.
  • The mindset CrossFit gives athletes can be a powerful tool in bringing together a community, and Britton said the idea of “shared suffering” is a social network in itself, which can then be applied to the cancer community. 
  • “So often one of the aspects of suffering is that it’s lonely as hell,” Eric Roza said in an Instagram Live video with Battle Cancer. “What’s really important about CrossFit, and is very uncommon, is this is a shared suffering that we choose…it’s incredibly powerful to choose to suffer in this way…it breaks down all hierarchy.” 
  • With the Battle Cancer CrossFit challenges, athletes are able to connect with others through that shared suffering, and therefore better connect with the cancer community.
  • “I think it breaks down barriers, and what’s been great with using quite a lot of CrossFit Games athletes in interviews recently is they’ve talked about how demotivated they are somethings and how they deal with pain management through CrossFit, and cancer patients are incredibly similar, ultimately,” Britton said. 
Photo credit: Battle Cancer

Quantifying functional fitness: In 2020, Battle Cancer launched a program aimed at providing training for cancer patients post-treatment. Alongside community support and fundraising, the organization hopes to use their post-cancer treatment program to quantify the effects CrossFit and functional fitness has on recovering cancer patients. 

  • The 12-week in-person and online program provides free functional fitness training to help cancer patients return to a normal life after radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. Through this program, Battle Cancer wants to build a set of data to show that functional fitness movements associated with CrossFit can have an impact on health.
  • “It (the program) is coach-led and is in incremental sessions throughout that period of 12 weeks, so we do tests like grip strength, increased mobility, resting heart rate, and we do basic strength tests like push and pull,” Britton said. “It means we’re collecting data across a subset of different countries, ages, genders, races, for all those people we have on the program.”
  • As we are able to prove things out…we can move beyond these powerful anecdotes and start having quantitative data,” Roza said. 

The bottom line: CrossFit’s partnership with Battle Cancer benefits both the cancer community and the health and fitness community. By bringing together athletes for a good cause, raising money for cancer charities, and quantifying the effects functional fitness has on post-cancer treatment recovery, Battle Cancer could become a driving force in cancer support. 

  • “CrossFit has a phenomenal name and a phenomenal reach. With this partnership, we can shout about the program, shout about the true stories of people who have overcome cancer,” Britton said. “My dream is that every affiliate will host a Battle Cancer program.”

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