Strength put to the test for Pancreatic cancer

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Athletes went through a circuit of exercises including push ups, pull ups, deadlifts, and the rowing machine. Photo by Eli Atzenhoffer

Push ups, pull ups, deadlifts, and a trip on the rowing machine were in store for participants in the Push/Pull for Pancreatic Cancer event at Williamston Crossfit on Nov. 16.

With music echoing through the building and the constant sound of weights hitting the ground, men and women of all ages went through rigorous circuits of exercise for a good cause.

Twenty-eight athletes took their turn doing as many reps as possible for Project Purple, a nonprofit organization “created to raise awareness, support patients and families affected by the disease, and fund research efforts to defeat pancreatic cancer,” according to the organization’s website.

Getting to Williamston

Samantha Schultz, a crossfit coach at Williamston Crossfit, was the first to bring an event like this to Williamston.

“It is basically getting everyone together working out and raising awareness for pancreatic cancer,” she said.

Michelle Schotzko, a volunteer coach at Williamston Crossfit, participated in the push pull competition with her husband. She says having people come together for workouts for a good cause is part of the family atmosphere the gym offers.

“It’s the workouts,” she said. “But also, we call it the gym family.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, 45,750 people are estimated to have died from pancreatic cancer. Of all cancer deaths it accounts for about 7% of all cancer deaths.

“My grandma passed away from pancreatic cancer three years ago,” Schultz said. “I just wanted to give back somehow.”

Participants like Paul and Michelle Schotzko both had friends or family members who had been affected by pancreatic and other types of cancers. 

“We had a lot of cancer in my family,” Michelle Schotzcko said. “Any sort of money we can put towards cancer research is a good cause.” 

For all participants, those who had been affected by cancer serve as motivation.

“My friend was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” Paul said. “I’m doing this for him.”

The Project Purple held push/pull competitions all around the country. The organization puts on other physical challenges for pancreatic cancer research like biking races, 5k races and walks.

For more information on Williamston Crossfit visit its website here. To donate to the Project Purple or find more information about other events that are put on by the organization, visit its website here.