Mike, his dad and sister during their time in Africa.

By Mike Suskin

Two things I admired in my father, and I try to exhibit these traits in my own life, were his strong work ethic and an ability to put things into perspective. While he was a dedicated and skilled airline pilot for over 20 years, he never lost sight of what was most important: his true loves, charity work and community.

Even after he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and could no longer fly planes, he always prioritized those passions. At one point, he moved back to his hometown of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe to work with ZimKids, an organization focused on helping families stay together despite the death of parents, illness and homelessness. He also used this time to  reconnect with friends and family from his childhood.

My father passed away in November 2014 after a nearly seven year battle with lung cancer. Shortly thereafter, I found myself looking for a productive and fulfilling outlet to turn my grief into something positive.

Mike at CrossFit, doing what he loves.

Enter Crossfit.

I had heard about CrossFit previously from a few friends and decided to sign up for an introductory class. CrossFit is a workout that incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises. As you can imagine, it is intense, fun and constantly changing, but most importantly, there is a focus on the community and becoming the “best version of oneself.”

CrossFit, and my gym in particular, is very big on fundraising. We have a few workouts each year to raise funding for various charities. A few months back it occurred to me that fighting lung cancer correlates quite well with this type of exercise, and when I asked the Head Coaches about putting on an event, the answer was an unquestioned “Yes!”

Next Saturday, my gym will hold “The Adrian Suskin Lung Cancer Memorial Workout.” My hope is that it will inspire people and anybody touched by this disease will be able to band together to fight and show each other support. I like to think that through Crossfit, I have found the same type of supportive community that my father tried to create for others throughout his entire life.

The Adrian Suskin Lung Cancer Memorial Workout will take place on Saturday, August 12th from 8:00 – 10:00am at Outsiders Crossfit in Hunt Valley, MD. Learn more!