Something I don’t talk about enough is Relentless, and I definitely need to share more about this organization. I hold Relentless near and dear to my heart. The kindness and selfless acts that these men and women do are nothing short of amazing. They are a wonderful family! I say family because this group is full of so much love, and the connection with every person runs deep. Every time this group gets together it’s like one giant family reunion, and I say giant because this special group of people are powerlifters. From giant hearts to giant mammoths, the term giant just fits.
The simplest explanation of what Relentless is/does is it’s an organization of powerlifters that raise money, create awareness, and show support for families with children fighting life threatening illnesses. Truly since conception Relentless has grown into something much larger and grander than anyone ever imagined.
To truly see what Relentless is you need to see where it started. The idea for Relentless was conceived in 2010 when Rev. Garth Heckman was re-diagnosed with cancer. Garth is a powerlifter, and his friend/training partner, Mike Hamilton, contacted Scott Nutter, the President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Powerlifting Federation, and suggested the idea of turning a powerlifting meet into a benefit to help Garth in his time of need. The meet was a wonderful success, and Garth ended up beating cancer for a second time. He also competed in Relentless 2012. From this first meet other lifter began to show interest, and voice that they would love to do another one. So from there Relentless Minnesota partnered up with HopeKids. From 2012 Relentless has been held in Scottsdale Arizona and Detroit Michigan. Currently it is held twice a year, once in Minnesota and the other in Detroit. Over the years the reach of this organization has grown globally; including awesome places like New Zealand! That’s AMAZING! Even more amazing than that Relentless has collectively raised close to 1.25 million dollars! That’s incredible!
Relentless is truly an all-around awesome organization. I say awesome because everything about this group leaves me in awe; from the selfless acts, the amount of money that has been raised, and of course the tremendous amount of weight that is thrown around on stage. There have been multiple thousand pound squats, eight-hundred – nine-hundred pound benches, and over eight-hundred pound deadlifts! That’s monstrous! I am a lifter in this group, and have put up some large numbers myself, but you always find yourself being a spectator and a cheerleader for everyone participating. It is one of the only sporting events where everyone is cheering everyone on. And you know how you sum this all up in one giant Wow? It’s held in a church! You may ask, “How is this allowed?” It just is. There is screaming, yelling, metal music blaring, nose bleeds, and sweat flying everywhere! Yet, for some reason this is the best possible venue for these events, and it works.
Now the greatest part of this organization and the focal point of this event are the kids; the true warriors and strength heroes of Relentless. They are wonderful, smiling, happy children, and you would never know from the outside that they are going through so much. They fight constantly, yet they sit by the stage cheering, and laughing like a child that hasn’t been through chemo, surgeries, spinal taps, radiation, etc. There have been a few that have won their fight, and continue to be huge supporters and also participants in Relentless. Unfortunately with this fight not everyone wins, and they are recognized as Relentless Angels. Those Angels are: Amber Webb, Austin Valentine, Connor Bint, Lauren LaFonatine, and Mollie Moguin.
From Relentless many other small fundraising meets for Relentless, and also other non-profit organizations. One of those organizations is Hannah’s Care Packages. What they do is provide families with a bag filled with things that may be needed for a longer stay in the hospital, or for those long weeks of chemotherapy. Typically they fill these care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste, a blanket, lotion, snacks, maybe a little gift or two for the child, and anything that may be needed. It is a wonderful gift that can make something uncomfortable a little bit easier. Recently I was able to deliver one of those packages to a family in Cary, IL. The Malooley family has a seven month old son that was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. He has been going through chemotherapy for eight weeks now, and for a child of only seven months he is going through chemo like a champion. Almost every picture you see of him he is smiling and full of joy. It was a tremendous honor to be able to deliver this package to his family.
Relentless is truly an amazing organization, and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it. The men and women are gearing up for Relentless Minnesota. There is always something of Relentless to get involved in or show your support for. If you are interested in making donations to the lifter’s pages please contact me, and I will share the link for their pages. Also, there is benefit for McKai on May 14th.