Amy and Jason Pierce joined Crossfit Lake Effect for two reasons.
"It’s life changing.
"One, it gave us something to do together. Two, we work from four in the afternoon until eight the next morning," Amy, said. "It just gave us a lot more free time during the day."
"We fell in love with it," said Jason.
However, this couples first love is giving back.
After Jason watched the 2015 Crossfit Regionals he noticed athlete Sam Dancer. At that time he was hard to miss because he did the workout in a Speedo. Dancer, made his wardrobe choice because he knew it would draw attention, and he had a message.
"He went on this huge rant about how everybody needs to love each other better. So then, I was like, oh this guys crazy."
After that, the only natural thing to do was to reach out to him. That's exactly what Jason did.
It turns out that Sam and Jason’s family have a lot of things in common. Sam is a huge advocate for Special Olympics, something that just so happens to be very close to Jason and Amy’s heart as well. The couple has a big, extended family.
"So we have ten people, almost 11 because I’m pregnant right now," Amy said.
Jason and Amy, along with their children, share a house with five Special Olympics athletes.
"Our kids hang out with them, our dog hangs out with them," Jason said. "It’s just one big community."
The Pierce’s extended family was the reason Jason and his then 7-year old son Jonas traveled nine hours to Quincy, Illinois to check out Sam Dancer’s first ever row raiser.
Teams of ten gathered in one location, and with the help of Special Olympic athletes each team rowed a marathon.
"It seems intimidating, right? To row 26.2 miles, but when you break it up into groups of ten, it’s like, again, a 7-year old could do it," Jason said.
That row raiser raised $40,000 for Special Olympics. So, Jason, Amy and Crossfit Lake Effect are bringing it to West Michigan.
"Doesn’t matter how big or fast, or slow, or rich, or poor, or what color, what gender, here you’re just part of this family, and everybody accepts it," said Jason.
"7-year olds to 70-year olds -- it doesn’t matter," Amy said. "Male female, pregnant/not pregnant it doesn’t matter. Anyone can participate and that’s the special connection too, between Crossfit and Special Olympics is it’s about building relationships, getting involved, it’s about meeting people and loving people and loving people no matter what their ability or disability."
An even platform, for their entire family.
"They’re athletes, they just don’t have the opportunity to be," Jason said. "They deserve a shot just as much as anyone else and for us that have so much to give back to the people that can’t."
The goal is to raise money, of course awareness, but most of all -- unity.
"It’s definitely to celebrate them, and include them, so it’s not us and them it’s just all one together," said Jason.