My name is Kaleda Connell . I met Chrissie and was introduced to the Love Is Project in Costa Rica in 2020. Not only was I inspired by Chrissie, I related to her mission of helping women all over the world and creating exponential LOVE. Today I'm going to share a story that starts with loss and leads to LOVE.
I’ve shared this story before, but only with a small group of people in 2017, and now I'm sharing with another slice of the world—with you.
A girl and her father—is there any greater LOVE story? There may be no other relationship that will trump a father-daughter bond. A daughter's first LOVE is her father; the man who teaches you everything "practical" like how to drive, how to change your oil and in my case, sling straw bales of the farm. He taught me how to drive the tractor and even let me run the packer after seeding. He was a multi-business owner and always had some "new idea" brewing.
On February 22, 2012 my Dad and my brother (my two best friends) were long-haul trucking North on Highway 69 toward French River, Ontario, Canada when they were hit by a snow plow. There isn't much on Highways 69, and the closest hospital is Sudbury, which was nowhere close. My brother was badly injured and my Dad hung on for as long as he could.
There is a lot more to the story, like how my sister, mother, aunt and uncle got to Sudbury. How, somehow, I got left there alone after my sister went home with my Aunt and Uncle, and my Mom went along with my Brother as he got airlifted to London, Ontario. How I had to somewhat be a mediator for funeral arrangements, because everyone else was in a hospital somewhere. How all my friends were waiting for me at my house when I finally made it home, and they made me coffee and soup, then drove me to London, to be with my brother for 20 minutes and drove me back home again.
The weeks after were hard. More than hard.
Two weeks later, I went back to University and back to work. The first week was hard as there was still a lot of anger in me. When someone is ripped from your life so quickly, and you don't have the chance to say goodbye, you feel that way. Why us? Why him? Why MY Dad, the man who still had so much left to teach me, the man who was supposed to walk me down the aisle, be a grandparent...
I needed something that let me forget about my feelings for a bit. Have someone tell me what to do instead of deciding how I feel. This is how I found CrossFit. I loved the workouts! I loved that the coaches felt like my guides, and that allowed me to shut my brain off. It felt good, and I started to feel good again.
I was no more than two months into actively participating in CrossFit and I knew this was something I had to share with others. I knew this had to be some kind of key to helping other people through similar hardships. I told very few people my "secret" dream of owning a CrossFit gym one day…
Fast forward two years and it was happening. I opened Degree CrossFit Seaforth . You can read the story of how it all came together after that HERE . It wasn’t without heartache or tribulation, but the dream that I never thought would come true finally did; I was following in my father's footsteps.
Some people come to a gym for weight loss, others for strength; my mission though, was to create as much happiness and LOVE as possible within our four walls. Every member should leave happier than when they walked in the door, even if that is only because I told a terrible Dad joke. I hope every member hears a "good job" or "great work" or "THAT WAS AWESOME," when they are there, because that might be the only time they hear it that day. I hope they are able to shut their brains off for just an hour, and allow our coaches to guide them through the session and feel refreshed, happy, loved and ready to tackle anything life throws their way. I hope every member reaches new heights and achieves new goals that makes them feel like they really CAN do anything they put their mind to.
I no longer own Degree , my right-hand woman Kelly Miller took the reins in 2019. I wanted to exponentially grow my ability to help more people feel happiness and LOVE through fitness. Today, I help gym owners all over the world through mentorship at Two-Brain Business and with their websites and automations at Gym Lead Machine . Both of these roles allow me to help gym owners help their members, so instead of only helping 100 members in a small town in Ontario, I get to help hundreds of gym owners help their hundreds of members. Talk about exponential LOVE!
While you may never have a dream of owning a business or helping hundreds of people, every single life you impact in a positive way makes a huge difference. The Love Is Project is such a shining example of that. By purchasing one bracelet, you bring exponential LOVE and happiness: to the artisans, to the receiver of your gift and of course to yourself, because the best part about gifts is giving them!
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