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Grinding for a Cause


On November 10 an F-4 hit Washington, IL and leveled many houses, changing the lives of hundreds of residents. Lucky the physical damage to the people of Washington was not great. However, the loss of property and the mental toll was very substantial. There have been many efforts around the area and the state to help with the efforts to rebuild and restart lives in Washington.

CrossFit is a community that supports itself across the globe. This generous spirit is not just limited to those in the community, often the reach will extend well outside the walls of the affiliates. Local boxes will come together to pitch in on a worldwide scale for workouts like “CrossFit for Hope” and “Barbells for Boobs” which raise funds to help in the fight to find a cure for different types of cancer.

A group of affiliates from central and western Illinois as well as the St. Louis area decided that it was time to help and come together to aid the people of Washington. CrossFit Rushville owner and trainer Andy Cassady put together a workout and fundraiser which was titled AMRAP for Relief. The effort would include boxes from Springfield, IL, Quincy, St. Charles, Mo as well as a few others.

The workout consisted of a 20 minute AMRAP (as many reps or rounds as possible) of 400 meter runs, 10 pull-ups, 20 Shoulder to Overhead at 115/85#, 30 KB Swings at 53/35#. Tee shirts were made and sold for the event and participants were asked to give a monetary or clothing donation or buy a shirt from which the profits would also be donated. All told, the event raised more than $3000 and various clothing items such as winter coats for residents in Washington, IL.

Cassady says, “You can always count on the CrossFit Community to help out when there are people or groups in need. Even if they are people who they don’t know or even people who are not even a part of CrossFit, the members of these affiliates were willing to step and give their support, time and money.”

He was moved to action after hearing about the impact the storms had on the life of a friend of his. “I was inspired to do the event after talking to a friend on the day it happened who lived very near to the area that was affected. She was telling me about friends who lost so much and people they were still waiting to hear from. That same evening, Facebook was flooded with pictures and videos taken during the storm and after. All I could think of was “What can we do to help these people in some way?” says Cassady.

Although the event was Cassady’s brain child, many other affiliates jumped in to assist and grind through this challenging workout. He says that getting the ball rolling was easy. “Within minutes (of the Facebook message being posted) I was getting responses supporting the fundraiser. Everyone I contacted was on board and asking what they could do to help. It was amazing. My friends from other boxes contacted affiliate owners they knew and I spent the next few days traveling to other boxes and meeting with the owners and coaches about the event. Again, the response was incredible with everyone wanting to help out. Within less than 48 hours, this event had grown.”

In addition to the CrossFit Rushville crew, all three of the Springfield, IL CrossFit affiliates (Capital City CrossFit, CrossFit Eject, and CrossFit Instinct) participated as well as CrossFit TNT from St. Charles, Mo and Shadow CrossFit from Quincy, IL.

I participated and I know that for me the thought of finishing a rep or a round seemed small when I focused on what it would be like to be without a house or other things that so many of us take for granted every day. These thoughts, along with various stories I had heard coming out of Washington and stories of others in the Springfield, IL area helped me to grind my way through this workout finishing just short of three full rounds.

Cassady and the other affiliates hope that they can aid in helping to rebuild not only homes, but help the people of Washington to get back to their lives as they were before this tragedy. Cassady says, “Given the time of year, what I’m hoping to accomplish is to provide help to give those affected a new start to begin rebuilding what they’ve lost. That is why we are willing to accept donations of any kind whether it is money, clothes, etc. There is someone who will need whatever is donated and everything helps. This is the time of year we give back and help others and that is what I am hoping to help do in any way possible.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to helping those in need in Washington, IL can contact the American Red Cross or join the public group on Facebook at AMRAP for Relief. A fund has been established that will disperse money directly to organizations working to help residents affected in the Washington area.

Donations may be mailed to:

AMRAP For Relief c/o Andy Cassady

4 Deer Meadow Drive

Rushville, IL 62681

Stay on the Grind.
Jamie Toland (JTol)