Following Publication of Pilot Study Findings, CAPABLE Continues to Explore CrossFit and Cancer Recovery

November 22, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Faraz Javed, @itsfarazjaved
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On November 11, nearly 200 CrossFitters gathered at CrossFit in the D in downtown Detroit to complete in the “Million Meter Row,” a fundraising event for the Cross-Training and Physical Activity: A Better Life Experience (CAPABLE) program. 

Remind me: CAPABLE was founded by longtime CrossFitter, Professor of Oncology, and Population Science Program Leader at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, Dr. Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer and David Finlay, owner of CrossFit in the D.

  • The program, sponsored by the Karmanos Cancer Institute, offers 12 weeks of free CrossFit classes to cancer survivors (with the consent of their physician). During these 12 weeks, Beebe-Dimmer and her team evaluate the benefits of CrossFit on each participant, measuring things like performance, quality of life, and more.

Getting their data published: In a previous interview with the Morning Chalk Up, Beebe-Dimmer relayed some of the meaningful improvements she and her team had personally seen in each CAPABLE participant, including drastic improvements in metabolic health and quality of life in many of the members.

In a report released in October, Beebe-Dimmer and her team were able to publish some of those results. 

According to this report, CAPABLE participants experienced losses in weight, body mass index, percent body fat, and hemoglobin levels over the 12-week CrossFit course. In addition, the medical report listed clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life, covering physical, social, emotional, and functional well-being.

  • “Universally, almost all the outcomes we looked at improved,” Beebe-Dimmer said. “In just a 12-week intervention, to see some [participants] have a significant drop in hemoglobin is pretty incredible… and we have a number of patients that their cancer therapy caused diabetes, and we were able to get them off those meds.” 
  • “It gives [CAPABLE] a lot of credibility that we were able to get it published,” she added.

Back to the Million Meter Row: With the momentum of the paper and the success of the first rounds of CAPABLE behind them, Beebe-Dimmer and her team are focused on growth, expansion, and longevity.

  • “The long term for the program will depend on the generosity of others,” Beebe-Dimmer said.

The Million Meter Row — where together, 40 teams of four CrossFitters rowed 1 million meters —  was created to help raise money to fund CAPABLE’s longevity.

  • Money raised at the event went directly back to the affiliates that host CAPABLE workouts to cover coaching fees or equipment for the program. 
  • At the time of publishing, they raised $25,797 for the CAPABLE program. 

As for expansion and future work, Beebe-Dimmer and her team have already set their sights on a new performance site in Dearborn, MI. 

  • Along with this new site, they’ll continue to run programming at CrossFit in the D and at another affiliate, CrossFit Petoskey in Northern Michigan.

Donate to CAPABLE now.

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