Letter from Lisa Baker:
This April I found out I have stage three breast cancer and it is aggressive. There are really no words to describe the feelings and thoughts that ran thru my head those first couple of weeks of finding out. My husband, Doyle Baker, and I have a 7 year old, 3 year old and 10 month old and it broke out hearts to know that not only was this going to be a tough journey for us but them as well. God quickly showed me that although I have this awful disease he had cushioned this journey with amazing family, friends and complete strangers. When I was told about the event and gofund me account that Crossfit Unyielding had put together I was blown away. I cannot tell you how much it means to me and my family that while I am battling this cancer we will have help in paying our medical bills which has been a great source of stress. We live in a wonderful community and there are so many amazing stories that have come out of this bad situation and I cannot thank Crossfit Unyeilding enough for helping in such a generous way!
Letter from Steven Andrews:
Hank Dunn, a local business owner, beloved man of the community and a wonderful father to three children, has been diagnosed with stage four brain cancer at age 58. This particular type of cancer, glioblastoma grade 4, is rare, aggressive, and has very few treatment options. Even with this diagnosis, Hank is a true fighter and will not give up his battle. The uplifting spirit of this community gives us strength and solace, and we want to thank everyone for their continued support, donations and prayers during this difficult time. With your help, we are raising money to find a cure and save lives.
According to costprojections.cancer.gov 2010 study, the average annual cost for males with brain cancer is $115,250 and the average annual cost for a female with breast cancer is $108,168. Crossfit Unyielding is hosting an event, ‘Unyielding to Cancer,’ for two friends, Lisa Baker who has stage three breast cancer and Hank Dunn who is terminally ill with stage four brain cancer.
Charles Needham – one of four co-owners of Crossfit Unyielding along with Chris Snipes, Evan Toro and Jessie Macias – decided to do something for Baker when Amber Foster, the catalyst for all of this and a friend of Baker’s, came to him and asked if there was a fundraiser they could do. Eventually Needham heard about Dunn through Dunn’s nephew Steven Andrews.
Needham said he knew Andrews was having a hard time dealing with it, so Needham went up to Andrews one day and told him what they were doing for Baker, before asking him if they could donate some of the proceeds to Dunn as well. Andrews was elated to hear the news.
Both Dunn and Baker have families. Dunn, 58, is a father of three and Baker is a mother of three, with her youngest being just 10 months old.
“When we heard about Hank and Lisa, we felt like we had to do something to help and the crossfit community is known for just that: helping those in need. We decided to set up a charity fitness competition for Hank and Lisa,” Needham said.
It started out as a website seeking donations, but he decided to take it a step further and set up a fitness competition. Needham expected a small turnout, but he was soon proven wrong.
“It’s actually exploded for us,” Needham said.
Needham began planning the competition in June with a date of August 9, for the actual competition and thought that participation in the event would be minimal.
“We thought that with such little time on this that we weren’t going to have many people signing up and we weren’t going to raise a lot of money, and we were quickly proven wrong,” Needham said. “The original thought to this competition is that we may have 20 or 30 competitors and that we would actually do it in our gym. We’re actually looking at 30-plus teams.”
Needham added that the competition could have between 60 to 100 athletes, and that it’s tremendous that the community has gone to extreme lengths to support.
“People have really jumped up to come help these people out. That’s what I love about this local community with the donations, but the crossfit community and the weightlifting community in general because $100 per team, $50 per person a lot of people don’t have that money to throw around,” Needham said.
“When we started it we thought it was going to be small. We were kind of just hoping that we’d break even and be able to make a small donation,” Needham said. “A lot of the time when you plan an event like this you tend to do it six to eight months out, but we decided on this at the end of June. We sat down and were looking at the date, I looked at the other guys I said, ‘I really want these two people to be able to witness the event.’” When you’ve got stage four brain cancer like Hank has, you don’t really know how much longer you’re going to be out and about.
The competition spans the metro area with participants from as far as Macon and Augusta. Needham and a group of coaches will come up with the ‘workouts,’ which haven’t been decided yet. The events will be scored with each event encompassing weightlifting, calisthenics and/or gymnastic type movements.
Every team will be ranked; four teams from each division will compete head-to-head for the championship.
All proceeds will go to the families of Dunn and Baker. Profits come from three sources: personal donations, business sponsorships and team dues.
There will be a booth at the event for people to make donations. There are two forms of business sponsorships: for $100 businesses can get their logo on the Unyielding to Cancer t-shirts, and for $150 businesses get their logo on the t-shirts as well as a boost at the competition.
The competition consists of two-person teams, male/male or female/female, with each team paying $100 to join the event, basically $50 per person.
“Everything else after we meet overhead goes to the families,” Needham said. “The event itself is going to be pretty lean as far as what we’re putting into it because we want to get as much money as possible going out to Hank and Lisa and their families to help take care of some of the expenses that they’re incurring doing the cancer treatments.”
Needham said that none of the participants in this event has met Baker or Dunn yet including Needham. Needham said that the fact no one knows them, but is willing to donate and participate in the event for charity speaks volumes about the community.
Any business that would like to sponsor the event can contact Charlie Needham at 770-853-1314.
Unyielding to Cancer will be held at The Church at Covington on 11975 Georgia 142 in Oxford, Georgia August 9, at 8 a.m.