Taking on Breast Cancer with Strength and Grace

CrossFit Flathead to host Oct. 31 fundraiser for Cancer Support Community

By Molly Priddy
Breast Cancer survivor Trina Vanorny, pictured on Oct. 23, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

If there’s anyone who knows about strength and its many forms, that person is Trina Vanorny.

Anyone who has sweated with the folks at CrossFit Flathead on Airport Road in Kalispell knows Vanorny, who coaches at the gym and has been through many of the punishing workouts in the last few years.

But adding to her workouts, since 2010, Vanorny has kept up with her fitness despite going through chemo and radiation treatments twice for two different bouts of breast cancer.

She’d been doing CrossFit for two years before her first diagnosis in December 2010, and she believes the lifestyle better prepared her for the assault on her body that cancer treatments bring.

“I think my body was just far stronger and healthier than possibly most the general public when they find out they have cancer,” Vanorny said.

Vanorny finished chemo for the reoccurring cancer in March, and finished her radiation treatments in June. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Vanorny is helping raise awareness in a very fitting way: a public workout at Crossfit Flathead on Oct. 31.

The workout is the fifth annual Amazing Grace Raise the Bar for Breast Cancer, during which attendees will complete the CrossFit workout titled “Grace.” It’s a benchmark workout around the world, Vanorny said, and a signature event for CrossFitters doing an October fundraiser.

It’s a relatively simple workout to remember: 30 clean-and-jerks. That means pulling a weighted bar up from the ground to your waist, then hoisting the weight over your head in one motion. Repeat 29 more times.

“It’s one of our sprint workouts,” Vanorny said. “It’s pretty quick, which is fun.”

Heats of workout start at 9 a.m., with the last heat usually ending at about 10 a.m. There’s a silent auction that takes place during the event, and all the money raised at the event will go to the new Cancer Support Community, a place for people with cancer and their families to receive support of all kinds expected to open in Kalispell in January.

Such a resource would have been invaluable when she was first diagnosed, she said.

“It would’ve been such an awesome support system outside of the medical community,” Vanorny said. “It’s just in a house, it’s cozy, and it’s a community of survivors and people who have been touched by cancer. The possibilities for programs are endless.”

Last year, there were about 120 people in attendance for the fundraiser, either participating or watching, Vanorny said. Participants don’t need to be CrossFit members to join; Vanorny thinks most of the people who competed last year were non-members.

The past four years of the event have yielded more than $22,000 in donations to local organizations. Registration costs $15 for adults, and children are $12. Spectators get in for free.

For more information, visit www.amazinggracexfit.com.

Vanorny will be participating this year, despite some residual fatigue from the chemo and radiation earlier this year. She wants to compete for herself, but also for those who can’t be there, who can’t raise the bar themselves.

“It really is fun,” she said.

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