“CrossFit has introduced me to courage beyond the military,” says Kirk from CrossFit Valdosta. “It’s the community and the mental strength that comes from it.”
Kirk has been diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma but isn’t letting that stop him from competing in the Reebok CrossFit Games Open. At only 29 years old, Kirk says he has undergone multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation and has a paralyzed right shoulder. But to Kirk, his obstacles are lesser to those of his friend and mentor Trevor, a man he describes as a “walking paraplegic.”
“Every day he faces his obstacles, and he puts a smile on his face and keeps his head up,” Kirk says. “That’s how I want to interact.”
Kirk has been in the military for about 11 years and is currently on medical leave from Army Special Forces training. He’s also been a CrossFitter for a long time, having obtained his Level 1 certificate in 2006.
“I think that CrossFit is huge because of the mental strength it requires. I mean obviously physical strength will go away—it happened with me: I lost about 30 lb. with all this—but it’s the mental strength and the mental lessons you learn through it.”
Despite his adversity, Kirk says it “gives me no excuse. I’ll still compete.”
Additional reading: Amanda Miller Tribute.