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Pause for the cause
Support heavy at Unyielding to Cancer charity event
Lisa Baker (above) continues to keep a smile on her face, despite having stage three breast cancer. Baker has three kids.

I just want to say thank you to all these people in the community and all these people that come up to me and just give me a hug and tell me they’re praying for me.

— Lisa Baker

At CrossFit Unyielding’s charity event “Unyielding to Cancer” on a cloudy Saturday morning, the Church at Covington was surrounded with people and love. There wasn’t a parking space to be found, nor was there a frown on a anyone’s face.

The event was put on for Lisa Baker, who is 35 years old with three kids and is fighting stage-three breast cancer, and Hank Dunn, who is terminally ill with stage-four brain cancer. All proceeds went to the families of Baker and Dunn for a total donation of $8,970.

“I don’t think there are words to describe the feeling and how humbled I am to have this many people come out and support me and my family right now,” Baker said.

“I think we’re in awe of it. It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful thing that all these people were willing to give up their time on a Saturday to come out here. Luckily, I think this is something they all love doing, so that makes it a lot easier to swallow. I think more than anything it’s just humbling that these people pay money and come out here and use their Saturday to do this,” Baker added.

Baker said that it was a blessing for her to have people support her and raise money for her and her family. She said it was a blessing that she would be able to go home and play with her kids, and that money wouldn’t be at the forefront of her mind.

“I just want to say thank you to all these people in the community and all these people that come up to me and just give me a hug and tell me they’re praying for me,” Baker said.
Dunn, who wasn’t there at the time, was supported by his nephew, Steven Andrews who as he competed in the event.

“It means the world to me. To have this much support and people come out and contribute. It means everything to me,” Andrews said. “It shows that there still is good in this world, and good from people. It’s awesome. It’s really hit my heart and touched my family. We can’t thank everybody enough.”

Andrews said that he uses the cause as extra motivation when he’s competing. There was a moment when he was doing a power clean, and he was surrounded by friends and other competitors. They cheered him on as he lifted the bar over his head with a showing of great strength.

“To have this much people here and get your juices flowin’, it amps you up. To put on a show for everybody that’s here it’s awesome,’ Andrews said.

There was a togetherness and a camaraderie in the air that couldn’t be denied. Everyone supported one another. Of course there was friendly competition, but it was just that, friendly. People crowded around and cheered as the competition went on.

Volunteers shined in their neon shirts with purple lettering that read “Unyielding to Cancer.” Loud cheers roamed across the area as team members lifted their weights ever so slightly at times with ease above their heads.

Participants competed in teams of two, either male/male or female/female. Each team went through three tough workouts, with the top four teams from each division making it to the fourth and final workout.

“Our first work out, we’re maxing out the thruster. The thruster is a power clean from the floor, so the bar will come from the floor to your shoulders, and then you actually have to drop into a squat and drive the bar over head,” Charles Needham, an event organizer and co-owner of CrossFit Unyielding, said. “Then the second one is this deadlift and box jump medley. The third workout is a power cleans and burpees workout. It’s a power clean in ascending weight for nine minutes. So you’ll do x amount of repetitions and x amount of burpees, and it’s ascending weight each time. The championship workout will be performed by the top four teams in each division, and it’s going to be a slugfest.”

For Evan Toro, a co-owner of CrossFit Unyielding, it meant the world to him to compete in this event. Toro helped get sponsors from around Covington, he helped get equipment, food, drinks and he and his girlfriend found the location.

“It means a lot because it’s not just these two people I’m doing this for. My grandmother has breast cancer, my girlfriend’s grandmother has breast cancer,” Toro said. “If you really think about it and you dig deep and you have the motivation for those people to just come out here and do the work, the feeling’s great man. As a Christian, it’s like God has a plan for everybody, you gotta do what you can do. If I can come out here and lift weights to support them I’ll do that every day. It wouldn’t bother me not one bit.”

As for the overwhelming turnout, one of the organizers, Charles Needham, was more than pleased.

“Today has blown my expectations out of the water,” Needham said. “All of the athletes that came out, everybody was ready to rock and roll as soon as they got here. Registration went smoothly and we jumped right into that first workout.”

“[I] need to give a big shoutout to Johnny’s Pizza for coming out and providing our lunch today. They’re donating 10 percent of their profits to come out here today and help us out.”

The winners of the event were: Men’s Prescribed, Crossfit Winder Men’s Scaled, Greenlight Crossfit, Women’s RX, “We should have scaled” and Quad Squad.