Knicely Done: Burpees with purpose

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Justin Vanbeek was serious with he came up with a fundraiser for Colon Cancer prevention six years ago and the most recent event at his CrossFit Hydro gym was another success.

"We raised more than twelve thousand dollars," he said in an interview with WOWT 6 News. "And we also had more participants than ever."

That's saying something because the event is all about burpees, an exercise that few people in the workout world seem to enjoy. It's a combination of a kick out pushup with standup hops.

Crystal Stidham remembered that her first experience with burpees didn't last very long. "Before my heartbeat was in my throat, I managed probably three," she said.

"They were hard," said 62-year old Dave Rogers referring to his first set of burpees. "I didn't like them at all."

In spite of that both Crystal and Dave were on the mat knocking out burpees with other two-person teams on Sunday afternoon. Each team had twenty minutes to complete the required 224 burpees.

Vanbeek started the fundraiser in honor of his mother Rhonda who fought colon cancer four years before succumbing to the disease.

"When she was doing treatment she was still doing outreach to other people," said Vanbeek. "It was amazing to see her do that and do treatment on top of it all."

That same resolve was needed by the participants to complete the burpee challenge and that's the way Vanbeek wanted it to underscore the difficulty that cancer presents.

Not only does the event raise money for colon cancer prevention, it's an opportunity to inform the public about the disease.

The Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force offers a free test kit that can be used at home. As Jeri Engen of the task force explains a sample can be folded in an envelope and mailed in for testing.

"Nebraska has one of the lowest screening rates in the country," she explained. "Fortunately colon cancer is the most treatable and beatable there is if it's detected early."

For more information on colon cancer and how to obtain a test kit, visit the Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force website.

Knicely Done!