Sam Shaw “The life saver”

1. Tell us a little about yourself?

Hiiiiii, well… My name is Sam; I am your pretty typical 25 year old. I grew up in Quincy, MA right on the ocean, and I am a true Boston girl at heart. I started my college career at Providence College as a pre-med major, but ultimately transferred up to Simmons in Boston where I got my BSN in nursing, and then finishing up at Boston College with my MSN in nursing. I currently work as a pediatric nurse at MGH in Boston, and newly as an OB nurse on the South Shore. All while continuing my CrossFitting journey, so I guess you can say I have my plate full, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. Tell us your CrossFit story (where were you before RCFBC and where are you now?)

Where was I before CrossFit- not in shape! Hah. Well, growing up I had always been into sports. I have done everything from competitive dance (I’m sure this is where I get most of my awesome mid wod dance moves hah), gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse. I was captain for my Varsity Ice hockey team in high school, and would have continued on playing in college were it not for injuries and a few nasty knee surgeries. I am an avid skier, surfer, and wakeboarder. The more intense of a sport- the more I enjoy it. 

I always remained active until right around my sophomore year in college. As a college sophomore-I, for the first time, got a glimpse at how fragile and precious life really is. My sophomore year, I was diagnosed with Lupus. Lupus is a chronic, incurable, autoimmune disease. Pretty much, Lupus is a disease that can damage any part of your body, such as the skin, joints, and/or organs. When you have lupus, your immune system is unable to tell the difference between foreign invaders and the body’s healthy tissues, so it creates autoantibodies that ultimately attack and destroy healthy tissue, leading to inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.

Looking back at my sophomore year when I was so sick, I never could have imagined I would still be around, never mind where I am at present. For me, I had a lot of cardiac and lung involvement, to the point where any physical activity was a chore, and to the point where I could barely walk without getting out of breath. So I guess you could say before CrossFit, I was a bit defeated.  For a while I let my Lupus win, until one day I decided I needed to make a change. I was on a million meds, and sick of it, so I started looking into any non-medical way I could help with my flare-ups. I discovered the paleo diet and CrossFit. I started implementing the diet change, and could not believe how much better I felt. I had more energy, I was not getting as sick. Feeling better led to starting to get back into my athletic past. Step 1: running, which was a struggle to say the least. Growing up on the ocean, and it being the start of summer, I started running down Nantasket beach. Every day on my drive down to the beach, I would pass RCFBC, see everyone working out, and knew then I needed to be a part of whatever it was. I had heard about CrossFit from close friends and family, but at the time I never thought it was something I could do (I was just happy to be running). A friend told me to look into Gabrielle Andrews, a CrossFit athlete who had Lupus and whose story mirrored mine. After discovering her story I knew I had to give it a go. One day on my ride to my run, I mustered up the courage to go in and see what it was all about…  I then met Mike- who immediately called me out on my awful posture, and some may say its all history from there. Just over a year later, posture slightly improved, I cant express what an impact CrossFit, and more so, what RCFBC has made on my life. 

3. What does being part of RCFBC community mean to you?

The community at RCFBC is like no other. Not only in the coaches, but also in all the members. I have been blessed to meet and be part of such an amazing group of people, and have forged some lasting friendships. RCFBC is more then just a group of people working out, we are a family, who pushes each other to never quit, and to keep on going. Whether you are there on your best or worst day, the community is always there, helping you to never give up. Our community at RCFBC is unlike anything else I have experienced, and I am lucky to be a part of it.   

4. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Accomplishments, there are far too many to even list. When I walked into on-ramp I had never picked up a barbell, could not do a pull-up, and still could barely run. Now being able to do Olympic lifts, pull-up’s, double under’s, muscle ups, participating in my first team competition, doing the CrossFit open, and now being part of the CrossFit team series- its more then I ever thought possible given where I was. I think overall what I am most proud of is pushing myself to keep going to CrossFit, despite how I may be feeling. Whether I complete a WOD, or not, every day is a new challenge, and a new chance to learn and grow. I am most proud of being able to say I went that day and gave it my all. 

5. What are your challenges and goals going forward?

Challenges going forward, again far too many to even list. Every day is a new set of challenges, and I am excited to keep learning and growing in my CrossFit journey. I am definitely excited to keep working on my Olympic lifts and getting my stamina up during wod’s. I am just starting to really get some of the movements, especially in my lifts, so I am excited to continue to learn, get stronger, and keep pushing myself.

6. How does CrossFit help with your daily life and being a RN?

When it comes to how CrossFit has impacted my life and life as a nurse-where do I begin? Whether it is in my nursing jobs or dealing with my own medical battles, life – as we all know it, can be a stressful. What a better outlet for that stress then CrossFit?  I was working long shifts, not eating the way I should, and letting the stress of what I had to deal with at my job take over. Through CrossFit I have been able to mentally and physically grow stronger, so that stress is no longer a heavy weight that can’t be lifted.  I have used my healthy lifestyle changes to help change the lives of my patients, which is an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. CrossFit has helped me to keep a positive attitude and lead a healthy life. I cannot say enough on how much being a part of CrossFit and RCFBC means to me. 

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