CrossFit Games

Being a Judge at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games Was On Her Bucket List, Then the Community Found Out

August 20, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Cancer and Crossfit | @cancerandcrossfit
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If you saw judge Krystal-Kate Meacham during the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, you wouldn’t know she was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

The opportunity to be a judge at the Games was on Meacham’s “bucket list” and her experience was far more than just judging a competition, as the entire CrossFit community rallied behind her to give her one of the most memorable experiences of her life. 

Meacham only started CrossFit about a year ago after some friends enticed her to get into the sport. She trains at CF Chirnside Park in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, and said, without the coaches 100% support of her health situation, “I wouldn’t have gone back.” 

She was first diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer in 2011, underwent major surgery, and was in remission until 2021 when the cancer came back. This time stage 4 and her prognosis is 5 years. 

  • “Fast forward 10 years enduring many more follow up scans and bloods, and the cancer came back, stage 4 with mets to my stomach, pancreas, and lymph nodes in 2021,” said Meacham.
  • “I’m currently still stage 4 and continuing monthly treatment and bloods, however recently I’ve been losing a lot of weight and my tumor markers are creeping up so there is reason to believe from my oncologist and MDT that something else is going on unfortunately.” 
  • She adds, “Judging at the CF games was on my bucket list for the same reason competing as an athlete may be on an athletes dream list.” 
  • Meacham had judged a handful of local competitions, including the Torian Pro “and knew the CF Games was going to be the biggest comp I could judge at, so put my application in and waited. I didn’t think I would get accepted given I had ‘baggage’”– cancer–as it may have been put in the “too hard basket”.” 

After meeting the requirements to apply as a judge at the Games, Meacham applied, and little did she know, the head coach at her gym also put her name down. 

“When she found out before I did that I had been selected, her and my home gym crew, rallied

around and raised money to pay for my flights [close to AUD $4000]. Now if that doesn’t

scream community, I don’t know what does,” said Meacham. 

  • Upon her arrival at the Games (and even before), word started to spread about Meacham’s story, including meeting Arielle Loewen thanks to canceled flights. 
  • Meanwhile, Loewen was working behind the scenes to get Meacham a shirt signed by as many athletes as possible.
  • Our very own Morning Chalk Up managing editor, Joe Genetin-Pilawa heard from co-host of Talking Elite Fitness, Tommy Marquez, about her story and asked Kristen Chandler, Director of Marketing Communications at NOBULL if they could donate some lifters and other gear to Meacham. They generously agreed. 
  • CrossFit HQ also featured her on their Instagram. 

Meacham said she was floored by all of the compliments coming in and the people who commended her on how good she looked “and how proud they were to be so inspired by someone who is essentially terminal and who’s prognosis is pretty crap.”

“My goal in the time I have left, is to educate people on how positivity can lead

you to a longer more appreciative and fulfilling life and how exercise benefits your mental and

physical state, and/or with treatment,” added Meacham. 

What’s next? Barring her health, Meacham’s next judging opportunity will be at the Oceania Throwdown in Brisbane, Australia for adaptive and masters athletes in September. And if she feels up to it, she’s even got the 2024 Games on her calendar for next year.

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