Strength Under Control


July 10, 2013
Topics: Pediatric Research, Cancer (oncology)



If you're like me, you may feel a bit confused when someone tells you they've completed a WOD at their box. But, if you're one of the many CrossFit members around the world, this is common everyday language. And it's exciting at that.

CrossFit is known for its high intensity workouts that are comprised of functional movements. WODs (Workout of the Day) are done in "boxes," rather than gyms, which get their name from being large open spaces with no machinery (just weight lifting equipment and pull-up rigs).

And, at one local box in Fort Wayne, Indiana, there's yet another new word to add to one's vocabulary. Shane and Amanda Burge own CrossFit Praus. When asked what "Praus" meant, I was told it's Greek for "meek" and most accurately, "Strength Under Control."

The Burges and one of their members, Courtney Springer, can relate to this type of strength, and not just because they coach classes at CrossFit Praus and complete WODs. They've both had children who needed the help of Riley Hospital for Children. Kids who had to exhibit more strength than any CrossFit box could hold.

The Burges grew to appreciate Riley when their youngest son was born at 31 1/2 weeks due to Amanda's pre-existing heart condition. Their young son then had some complications and needed to have surgery. Riley Pediatric Urologist, Dr. Mark Cain, took time out of his personal cancer battle to operate successfully on young Isaiah. Amanda said Riley "rolled out the red carpet" for their family and they continue to be grateful for the excellent care they received.

Ben and Courtney Springer just had their third child a few months ago. Just hours after Courtney was cleared by her doctor to exercise again after childbirth, she was back working out at CrossFit Praus. The Springers understand true strength too as they watched their oldest child, daughter Cristin, fight leukemia as a toddler. Cristin underwent more than two years of chemotherapy and cancer treatment and today she's a thriving and happy preschooler thanks to the wonderful care she received at Riley.

These Riley families understand strength. And last Saturday they did what they could to give back to Riley and help other families who will need support in the future. CrossFit Praus is open to guests every Saturday. The workouts are free, and are more team oriented and less technical, so Shane and Amanda decided to add a twist into the routine. Why not make Saturdays fundraiser days as well. This past week, Riley Hospital for Children was a beneficiary.

Both Amanda and Courtney shared their Riley stories to the group of 40 strong. Through tears Amanda asked for a show of hands to see if Riley had touched the lives of any others in the room and well over half raised their muscled arms. And after the WOD had been completed, the group had the opportunity to drop donations into a water jar. Amanda said she expected to pull out ten and twenty-dollar bills, but later that day as she emptied the jar she actually found $100 bills and checks for even more.

I think these people get it. Like Amanda said, "When you're in the middle of a workout that is temporary and you have a gut feeling that you can't go on any longer, you draw up the image of your child laying there going through a struggle and you think, if they can do it, I can do it."

It's strength under control.


Christy Cabe

Christy enjoys telling a good story in hopes that the reader will “walk away encouraged and inspired to grow in their love for God, and for others.” She has a degree in educational ministries from Huntington University, drinks coffee every morning, and lives in Fort Wayne with her husband, Kraig, and their three children. Christy recently published a memoir, “Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels.”


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