Marissa’s Story

By Marissa Lelogeais and Amy Ferro

In Coaching, Special Populations, Videos

December 21, 2010

Video Article

“If she can do it, you can do it,” trainer Amy Ferro says of athlete Marissa Lelogeais. Marissa is a CrossFitter at CrossFit Southie in Boston, Mass., who has cerebral palsy and a visual impairment that left her partially blind. Those conditions, however, haven’t stopped her from CrossFitting. In fact, CrossFit has helped Marissa build her physical capability.

Having been in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries, Marissa was no stranger to exercise for rehabilitation and physical therapy. Ferro started Marissa’s training with very simple and basic movements like biking, swimming and rudimentary weightlifting. After Ferro taught Marissa how to jump rope, she saw a change in her client.

“Her body was adapting to the training, and she was getting better every day,” Ferro says.

Ferro continued by adding CrossFit elements into her training.

“What better way to teach someone body awareness than a clean and jerk?” Ferro says. “And she loved it.”

Modifying CrossFit to meet Marissa’s needs has been a success for the pair. Marissa can take on any workout of the day and does so with the support and camaraderie of her classmates.

“For me, really, it’s a release. It’s a release of tension. It’s a release of stress and it makes me feel so empowered and so good about myself,” Marissa says.

6min 34sec

Video by Again Faster.

Additional reading: Truly Special Populations by Josh MacDonald, published Aug. 15, 2010.

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66 Comments on “Marissa’s Story”

1

wrote …

This is the best Crossfit story I've ever seen.

2

wrote …

Aside from the compelling story, this is exactly what intrigues me so much about CrossFit. Here you have a girl with two disabilities who has seemingly been able to overcome several physical barriers since she started CrossFit, possibly rendering medical evidence that would suggest otherwise obsolete. I am not sure how prevalent prescribing functional movements is in the medical field, but I think Amy and Marissa are on to something very profound. Hats off to both of them.

3

wrote …

I am absolutely inspired by this story. Marissa is an inspiration and Amy is an outstanding coach. My Uncle passed away two years ago and he suffered from cerebral palsy his entire life. He never let it get him down and he swam and lifted weights to combat it. Seeing Marissa go after that workout brought back a lot of memories of him never complaining and never quitting. Marissa, thank you for sharing your infectious personality with us. You gotta love a girl who loves burpees. Amy you are an incredible human being and you will be blessed in this lifetime and in the next.

4

wrote …

So inspirational!

5

wrote …

Wow, Marissa and Amy, you guys rock. Every day I think about how Greg Glassman started something that has changed so many lives. I wonder if he had any clue in the beginning that this thing was going to get this big and effect the lives of so many people. It must be very humbling. Thanks coach.

6

wrote …

Love the video, but I think the whole video should be available as a free download

7

wrote …

AWESOME!!!! What a great video. This needs to be free so we can share this to anyone who doesn't think they can do crossfit. Great job Amy not turning away clients that might be difficult to program for, but finding ways to help them succeed. I love the fact that Marissa LOVES Burpies! She might be the only one, LOL. Awesome, just awesome!

8

wrote …

I wish more people in this world were like Marissa. It is a joy to see someone smash through barriers and find strengths & abilities the world said they would never possess. Her story IS the true benefit that CrossFit brings to the world. Thanks to her & others like her for giving us a glimpse at the wonderful things we can accomplish.

9

wrote …

I taught Tae Kwon Do for several years and had a few occasions to teach someone with physical handicaps. One thing I learned is a physical handicap does not mean a mental handicap. At first I was not sure how to teach these students, then I just decided I would teach them the way I taught everyone else. I modified specific moves where necessary, but basically had them doing the same thing as every other student. I had one young man (Jared) of about 12-13 years of age who had a great deal of trouble even walking when he first came to my class, but I have never seen someone try harder and put more effort into learning than he did. He may not have been as graceful as someone with natural talent, but he impressed me more than any other student I ever worked with. I certainly don't claim to be a great teacher, but it was my honor and priviledge to work with such a great student. My hats off to Marissa for her spirit in not quitting, and also to Amy for not giving up on someone that maybe wasn't as pyhsically gifted as her other students.

10

wrote …

THIS is CROSSFIT!

11

wrote …

"There's a very intense manner in which one does burpees."

That quote goes up on the wall.

12

wrote …

Now honestly that is what I call a "Firebreather" and that is courage defined... Awesome!

13

wrote …

Now honestly that is what I call a "Firebreather" and that is courage defined... Awesome!

14

wrote …

This HAS to be made available to everyone! What Marissa & Amy have done is SO AWESOME!!

15

EC S wrote …

WOW, indeed.

Marissa - you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story.

And awesome job, Amy! Glad you didn't doubt yourself enough to not train Marissa. What incredible gains! Just amazing.

16

wrote …

Awesome coach and awesome story.

17

wrote …

Amazing people accomplishing amazing things. Pure CF. I cannot get enough.

18

wrote …

Awesome story! Amy and Chris- you guys are awesome! Can't wait to start training with you :)

19

wrote …

What a wonderful story. Great accomplishments Marissa. Marissa, Amy and Chris, you're the essence of true Crossfitters. You make us proud.

20

wrote …

This is such a great story, and the reason why I love my job as a trainer. The fact thatwe get clients in such condition and that we turn them into elite athletes over time.

21

wrote …

Amazing story, Marissa! You are truly an inspiration...

22

wrote …

Fantastic progress Marissa! Great to see that big smile during burpees! Excellent coaching Amy!

That video really captures the essence of CrossFit well.

23

wrote …

tear tear, that was great and why i love crossfit. and yes this needs to be on main site and in full so i can share this with others

24

wrote …

I'm speechless, truly an amazing story, keep it up!

25

replied to comment from Matthew Vaughan

i agree.

God bless all of you at Crossfit Southie, keep doing what you're doing, seems like a great crew over there!

26

wrote …

simply amazing

27

wrote …

Wow...I'll think about this everytime I do Burpees.

28

wrote …

What an amazing athlete.
Way to go coach.

29

wrote …

AWESOME!

30

wrote …

Distilled essence of awesome.

31

wrote …

Thank you. That was wonderful. The burpee quote will definitely be shared with my 6:30 class this morning.

32

wrote …

wow.. i am so inspired by this story... marissa you are amazing keep it up!!!

33

wrote …

First CF video i watch with tears in my eyes!! Beautiful work!! Thank you.

34

wrote …

Marissa, Amy, CrossFit Southie, CrossFit HQ, Thanks for sharing this with the community. There is not a word I can think of to describe what I feel after watching this video. Just what I needed to recharge my batteries, Thank you...Keep up the good work. Marissa keep fighting thru those barriers. WOW!!!

35

wrote …

I love the idea of modifying a move to fit the person & I love how Amy did just that. I love the story; I love the video; I love Crossfit; and Marissa I have to admit that I love burpees too for exactly the same reason as you. Marissa & Amy, thank you both for sharing such an amazingly inspirational & motivating story.

36

wrote …

This kind of story is more inspirational and educational, to me, than seeing a two-minute 'Fran' (not that that isn't awesome).

37

wrote …

Fantastic story! Go CF Southie!!!!

38

Frank DiMeo wrote …

Great coaching Southie!
Marissa rocks!

39

wrote …

Wow. I've seen so much in CrossFit and yet this video blew me away. You go, Marissa! Fantastic work, CF Southie! And thanks to the CFJ for telling this story. Just wow.

40

wrote …

I'm glad someone likes burpees. Marissa, you rock! Everyone
can learn something from you.
Amy, it's been said, but Great Job! All coaches could learn
something from you.

41

wrote …

So inspirational. I can't stop crying.

Everyone needs to know about CrossFit. I'm trying to do my part and I'll try even harder everyday from now on thanks to this story.

42

wrote …

CROSSFIT!!!!!
YOU ALL ARE AWESOME!
WAY TO GO MARISSA AND AMY!

43

Keith Wittenstein wrote …

I'm moved, touched and inspired. Thank you, Marissa!

44

wrote …

This needs to be on youtube and free...seriously.
If I was a newbie and saw this I'd be at a crossfit gym right after work ready to give it a try.

So badass!

45

wrote …

Marissa, your story is truly inspirational. Keep up the good work!


I have had the good fortunate to meet and train with Amy and Chris from CF Southie. They are great coaches, dedicated, and two of the genuinely nicest people I've met. I am not at all surprised that Marissa and Amy achieved these results together.

46

wrote …

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

We've now made this video free for you to share with others.

Happy holidays!

Mike
CrossFit Journal

47

wrote …

Its parts of the community like this that make CF so amazing! Great job Marissa and CF Southie!

48

wrote …

I don't do CrossFit. I purchased this journal for it's wealth of information. What amazes me most about CrossFit is this community you've built, and the mentality it's athletes have. I can do anything. This story is awesome. In the forums I usually travel to on the web people would be talking about how safe is this with all of the knee valgus and the not so perfect form. What I love is you guys say screw that, and do what you can. Marissa seems no worse for the wear and I'm amazed by her spirit. Amy I've worked with high school, college, and pro athletes, and what you've done with Marissa trumps everything I've done. You've touched a soul and gave life to someone. Thank you Amy and all the CrossFit coaches who are a little left of center, outside the box thinkers. Simply awesome!

49

wrote …

Fantastic story!!! This truly is CrossFit in every way. Super job Marissa! Keep up the spirit and the hard work. You are very inspirational!!!

I would love to share this story with everyone!

50

wrote …

ME PARECE UNA HISTORIA IMPRESIONANTE.SIENTO ADMIRACION POR MARISSA Y SU ENTRENADORA.ESTA HISTORIA RESUME EN UNA SOLA PALABRA EL CONCEPTO DEL CROSSFIT,"SUPERACION"

51

wrote …

What an incredible story, and a great example of what Crossfit is all about! Marissa and Amy, you are truly inspirational!

52

wrote …

Thanks Marissa and Amy! I just got home from doing a WOD with burpees in it and was dead tired. Now all I want to do is go back and DO MORE BURPEES! Amazing story about two amazing women. Thanks again.

53

wrote …

Marissa, outstanding job! This is crossfit and the exact reason why I love it.

54

wrote …

The first crossfit video that almost made me cry, and the first video to get me to post a comment. Truly motivational!!!!!!!!!OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!1

55

wrote …

marissa, you're awesome and you made me cry.

56

wrote …

The absolute best crossfit video I have ever watched! This is what it is all about.

57

wrote …

I agree with Yng-Wong and others that this is one video that should be made public. Take it out from behind the pay wall and even post it on Youtube.

58

wrote …

There is nothing better for me to see some one strive. It doesnt matter whayt the weight or time. It is seeing some one push past walls. Great work Marissa and Amy. All though burpees don't flow for me, I will be working on that now. God bless you both!

Nik

59

Kevin Wood wrote …

Unbelievable! Truly inspirational! I'm speechless.

60

robert day wrote …

wow, an amazing video!! this is truly what crossfit is all about, so inspirational from everyone in it.

61

wrote …

Awesome job Marissa and Amy. I'm sure you've had some tough times in the BOX and there will be more loads more in the future. Looks like you are both enjoying your crossfit and working hard. Keep up the good work..

62

Erik Preston wrote …

This video makes me even more proud of my CrossFit Community--what an inspirational story. Bravo Bravo Bravo!

Erik
CF San Elijo

63

wrote …

What a beautiful story. The heart of the athlete AND the heart of her trainer both shine through in this piece.
Wonderful work Marisa and Amy!

64

wrote …

So excellent, this was beautiful to watch. These are the moments so few out there for many, and continue to happen within this community. What fantastic people, doing amazing things, against the norm. Very inspiring to see both of them outside of the comfort zone and creating something very special.

65

wrote …

So beautiful and inspirational! this truly is what Crossfit is all about!! Much respect and love to both of you!

66

wrote …

PLEASE MAKE THIS FREE SO WE CAN SHARE IT! THIS IS WHAT CROSSFIT IS ALL ABOUT!

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