On January 21, 2010, Jeremy Kuchenmeister’s life changed: He awoke one morning, intending to go in for a doctor’s appointment for the headaches, dizziness, and weakness he was experiencing, but found himself being taken to the ER instead.
In the midst of treatments, Kuchenmeister found a program that helped him build the necessary strength, endurance, and mental toughness to fight cancer: CrossFit.
After a series of tests, Kuchenmeister was diagnosed with cancer. Tumors were found in his lungs, kidneys, liver, and in his head near his brain. Over the course of the next year, Kuchenmeister was in and out of the hospital, going through chemo, physical therapy, a Stem Cell transplant, radiation, and then more chemotherapy.
In the midst of his treatments, Kuchenmeister found a program that helped him build the necessary strength, endurance, and mental toughness to fight cancer: CrossFit. Kuchenmeister began CrossFitting in January 2011, and over throughout this past year, he has been in and out of the box, trying to stay as active as possible.
He says CrossFit has helped him both physically and mentally. Physically it has helped him handle his treatments better because it forced him to keep moving; on the other hand, the mental toughness he gained was instrumental to his recovery, as well. He also says the support from the community has been vital in his maintaining a positive outlook, and it’s easy to understand why CrossFit athletes from six different local boxes in the Northwest Chicago suburbs attended a benefit to assist in Kuchenmeister’s road to recovery.
On October 29, head coaches and owners, Pete and Ivy Rasmusen, of CrossFit Carbon, Vernon Hills, Ill., held a benefit for Kuchenmeister and his family’s fight against cancer. While 150 athletes went through Kuchenmeister’s 23:00 AMRAP, another 100 or so others came in to donate their time and money to his cause. By the end of the day, they raised approximately $5,600. It was with the support from his family, friends, and the CrossFit community, and in combination with his physical and mental gains, that Kuchenmeister discovered recovery was not far off, and on January 18, 2012, Kuchenmeister was informed he was cancer free.
Currently Kuchenmeister is in remission; he is now attending school and consistently working out about five days a week at both CrossFit Carbon and CrossFit Prevail. Where Kuchenmeister’s workouts used to primarily consist of work/rest ratios and AMRAPs, he is now completing the regular class workouts with minimal scaling. Not only has he dramatically improved his work capacity, but he has made tremendous strides in strength, successfully transitioning from completing workouts only with the bar to setting new personal records on his back squat at 175 pounds and his front squat at 155 pounds.
He now plans on tackling the Open, and his first line of business: burpees.
By the end of week one, Kuchenmeister walked away with 64 burpees, sore shoulders, aching quads, and a continued sense of pride and support from the CrossFit community. In order to give back to those who have helped him reach this point, Kuchenmeister will continue to move forward and keep working hard in the Open.
“I just want to see how far I’ve come –- to measure my own progress, to push myself more, and to help push others,” Kuchenmeister says. “I figure, I can show people that I’ve gone through this much and plan to keep going, so why can’t they? I just want to show them that it’s always necessary to keep pushing harder, to never give up, and that if they can fight the mental battle, they can beat anything.