Camille Leblanc-Bazinet instantly became Kate Foster’s favorite athlete when the 13-year-old saw the former gymnast with a cool accent wearing her favorite color of blue. Two years later, the teenager who has been battling leukemia got to meet her idol. Twice.
“I got very sentimental,” Leblanc-Bazinet says. “She’s so strong and she’s so happy. People are healthy and have all their (members), and they’re not half as happy as she was.”
Kate, who lost her leg to cancer, has become a familiar face in the CrossFit community as affiliates raise money to support sick kids in their battles. It was because of gymnastics and CrossFit, doctors said, that Kate avoided death when she was first diagnosed with leukemia. Late last year, her cancer returned, and she had to endure more chemotherapy and then a bone-marrow transplant. Her spirit remains unbroken.
“It has never really been a choice for me to keep going,” Kate says. “They’re like, ‘You really don’t have to do this.’ Of course, the other option would be to just die—and I’m not gonna let that happen.”
For Leblanc-Bazinet, CrossFit and its fundraising efforts provide an opportunity to be a positive role model.
“CrossFit right now, the people that are changing this whole word of ‘fitness,’ we are the model for the next generation,” she says. “This is our job to change the perspective of the younger people for what they would like to be when they grow up.”
Video by Gary Roberts.
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Additional reading: Kate Foster: Tiny but Huge by Emily Beers, published Aug. 27, 2012.