Giving back is a huge part to building a lasting legacy. When you have the chance to give back to a community that needs it, your whole life can change.
2016 CrossFit Games athlete Sam Dancer learned this lesson when he got involved in fundraising for the Special Olympics.
“I simply saw that we were falling short of what it was that we said we were here to do as a Christian health and wellness center. We weren’t providing certain demographics with opportunities to achieve their fitness goals. So, we got involved with our area director for Special Olympics and the rest is history,” said Dancer.
He had the idea to host an event in an open parking lot so it would gain a lot of attention as people drove by. He chose the busiest street in Quincy, IL to make sure people wouldn’t miss it.
In 2015, he organized the first Row Raiser event, which raised $10,000 for Special Olympics Illinois.
In 2016, the Row Raiser event grew to over 700 participants in locations all over Illinois, raising over $41,000.
The top 3 locations were:
Qtown Crossfit – $14,363
Crossfit Bloomington – $7,802
Crossfit Henosis – $4,950
This is what happens when a CrossFit community comes together.
Michael Jones, a chiropractor who trains at CrossFit Instinct in Springfield, Illinois understands on a personal level why it matters that the CrossFit community gives back to the Special Olympics.
In 2011, his wife, Leaha, gave birth to his daughter who was born with life-threatening complications and also Down Syndrome. 11 weeks later, she was luckily able to come home. Now five years later she’s breaking down her own barriers.
Since then, he has participated in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, Walk in the Park in St. Louis, Buddy Walk, the Rowathon, and a member of the Lincoln Land Down Syndrome Society.
Jones took the initiative to set up a fundraiser for the Special Olympics in his home city of Chatham, Illinois. Nearly 50 friends and family fielded four full teams. Combined, they raised $1,900. Adults and kids alike were more than happy to turn out and support a great cause.
If you don’t have a fundraiser in your neighborhood, stay tuned in 2017. Sam Dancer and his team have ambitious goals: to take the Row Raiser nation wide,
providing special needs athletes with more opportunities to achieve their health and wellness goals and change people’s hearts and minds by showing them what love looks like.
For anyone questioning “how to get involved?” or “The obstacles to getting involved” or “What to avoid?”, Dancer says “Stop asking questions about how to treat people with special needs. Start by building a personal relationship with them… and treat them like any other client that walks through your door. The best way you will ever be able to truly service anyone is personally investing in them from a place of love with message or content that can be easily interpreted.”
If you don’t have a fundraiser in your neighborhood, stay tuned in 2017. Sam Dancer has ambitious goals to take the Row Raiser nation wide and quadruple the donations year after year while providing special needs athletes with more opportunities to achieve their health and wellness goals and change people’s hearts and minds by showing them what love looks like.
Dancer says that it is important to know “That the special Olympics, especially in smaller cities is a severely under funded program for people that are not getting the level of service they deserve.” You can Click Here to donate to the Special Olympics, or find a local Special Olympics organization in your area.