It all started back in 2013; Rich Froning had won his third CrossFit Games, Thrift Shop was the #1 song and The Wolf of Wall Street had the world asking "what the hell are quaaludes and why would I want to do that to my brain?"
While the rest of the United States was busy poppin' tags at the local dollar store and mimicing one of the greatest movie scenes in the history of humanity, a small team set out to kick start a competition for a cause and impact the world for the greater good.
By the end of October, 2013, Josh Everett, TrainHeroic, and the CrossFit™ community rallied together in spectacular fashion to shine a flood light on the Autism community through a worldwide workout event called Lift Up Luke.
The Early Days: Why Luke, Why Autism and Why CrossFit?
You're probably wondering - with so many bad things happening to so many people, how did you land on Luke Everett, Autism and CrossFit?
On February 14th, 2013 Josh Everett and his wife (Josh is a well known member of the CrossFit community and a great friend of our) found out their son Luke was autistic.
And like any parent would be, they were in shock and denial.
According to Autism Speaks, "Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life."
And the Everett's are not alone; in fact, 1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum disorder.
For perspective - that number was 1 in 88 back when this event kicked off in 2013.
Josh reached out to us to help raise awareness and as any good friend would, we were honored to coordinate and execute the first ever Lift Up Luke fundraiser.
With that in mind, we got to work and organized the first event across the country and challeged CrossFit Athletes and Box owners to be awesome for autism and give this thing a shot.
We quickly confirmed our original beliefs: CrossFitters aren't afraid of a challenge and they came out in droves to support one of their own. 5,998 athletes from 362 gyms (that's 17 athletes per gym!) turned out and gave it their all for a worthy competition.
Two years later the event brought in nearly $80,000 for early diagnosis and treatment.
So, with that in mind, why are thousands of athletes from around the world gathering at their gym on September 10th, 2016?
2016 And Beyond: From Lift Up Luke to Lift Up Autism
It's now 2016, and we're aiming to make an even larger impact.
This "competition for a cause" specifically seeks to support early diagnosis and treatment of Autism, raise funds for the Autism Tree Project Foundation in San Diego, and most importantly, turn a global spotlight on the measured and severe impact of Autism on families and individuals around the world.
This year, we're upping the ante and doubling down our efforts to take the impact of the event to another level.
And with your help, we can make 10X the impact.
On September 10th, 2016 we’re rebooting the event under the more inclusive name of “Lift Up Autism” and calling athletes and coaches everywhere to mobilize around this cause.
So... What's The Workout?
The workout, named "Luke", is challenging but accessible. We have scaling options to accommodate athletes of all abilities and experience levels.
5 MIN AMRAP
4 Power Cleans, 155/105#
24 Double Unders
If you're new to CrossFit or have never done these movements, there are many other ways to participate and get involved.
Will Macklemore Be There?
No, no he will not.
Not unless you know him, that is.
How can I participate?
Funny you should ask.
There are three ways you can participate:
- If you are a gym owner, you can host Lift Up Autism at your facility for free by clicking here.
- If you are an athlete, you can register under your gyms name by clicking here.
- If you just want to support the cause and are unaffiliated, click here.
I'd like to wrap up this with an African Proverb that has been on my mind while writing this post:
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together"
We're honored to partner with some of the top brands in the industry, and we certainly could not impact the world in the way we wish without their support and sponsorship.
To all the Lift Up Autism sponsors: thank you so much for supporting a worthwhile cause and doing your part to bring awareness and change for the global good.
- Power Athlete
- Crossover Symmetry
- GATORZ Eyewear
- Rx Smart Gear
- Driven Performance Labs
- California Strength
- CAFFEINE + KILOS
Here's to a great event!