Written by: Stephanie Powell

A little background: On April 20, 2013 my father lost his battle with cancer. That week leading up to his passing I spent by his side hoping for a miracle. In complete and utter regret, I took my 25 years with him for granted. As I sat by his side day in and day out, my father was in good spirits. The usual: funny stories and cracking jokes. He watched a video of me deadlifting 400 lbs. He was so proud he showed every nurse on staff and told them that “if they f*** up, he would bring in Daddy’s Little Bodyguard.” I told him “One day I will pull 500 lbs.” Though it seemed nearly impossible, it was the one thing in my control. Since, I have hit that goal and exceeded. I dedicate my deadlifts to him.

On April 9, 2017 the USPA hosted their 2nd annual Liz Freel Deadlift Classic. Not only is Liz the utmost humble and down to earth person, she is a phenomenal coach and athlete. Faced with the affliction of cancer this Hall of Fame inductee refuses let this burden stop her from getting after it in the gym. This extraordinary woman has and continues to inspire so many men and women throughout her journey. While the Liz Freel Deadlift Classic is a celebration dedicated to her and her fight, many of us can relate in some way, shape or form.

Last year, I attended the Liz Freel Deadlift Classic as a spectator. To see so many powerlifters gather for the cause brought about an inconceivable feeling. The meet closed with Liz pulling 501 lbs and there was not a dry eye in the crowd. Watching her perform in her condition made me wonder: “Am I doing enough?” “Am I giving my all?” “Am I truly fighting for it?” The answer was NO. I realized I tend to let the little things get in my way. If I were a fighter like Liz, there is no telling what I could do.

This year, I had the privilege of competing in the Liz Freel Deadlift Classic. All things considered, I knew it would be challenge. Training had not been going as planned, I was battling a couple of injuries, and I was an emotional wreck. But, for my father and for Liz I wanted to do this one meet. Though I did not have my best performance, I wasn’t bummed about it.  It was just a wonderful feeling to support the cause. The meet rallied so many of us to support Liz and it raised money for the Cancer Research Institute. I must say, it was an emotional experience but I truly enjoyed being there to celebrate the life and the fight of this amazing woman.

If you take anything from this, just be sure to ask yourself this: Are you doing enough? Are you giving it your all? Are you truly fighting for it?

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  • sherry: June 13, 2017

    An amazing read. Thought provoking questions at the end, my answer is No.

  • Cathy Clough : June 13, 2017

    This is a great read! As a cancer survivor myself, I wonder if I am doing enough and pushing myself both in and out of the gym!? I have a meet in 5 weeks and WILL pull 325! Thank you for sharing your story.

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