F3 St. Charles Falls Down, Gets Back Up For Shriners Children’s

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Story Summary

“Fall down. Get back up. Together.” More than a motto, it’s a rallying cry for the active, civic-minded men of F3 St. Charles and the Make America Burpee Again challenge.

F3 St. Charles belongs to F3 Nation, a community-driven men’s organization focused on three pillars: Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. Members, known as PAX, gather regularly for intense morning workouts, followed by moments of camaraderie over coffee. The group is not tied to any particular denomination, and all that is asked is that you believe in something greater than yourself. It’s more than just exercise; it’s a holistic approach to personal growth and community building.

This year marked the fourth edition of the burpee challenge, but it wasn’t merely about physical exertion. For the second year in a row, the event included the I Am THIRD Burpee Challenge as a fundraiser for Shriners Children’s™ St. Louis, adding a philanthropic dimension to the sweat and struggle. The challenge was set: for every burpee completed, funds would be raised to support the hospital’s mission to deliver The Most Amazing Care Anywhere™ for children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay or insurance status.

However, there was a twist. In 2022, an enigmatic figure known only as “Anonymous PAX” issued a challenge via email ahead of the 2023 event. A wager was proposed: for every burpee completed by the PAX, Anonymous PAX would match up to $10,000. But there was a catch: every burpee short of the goal would have one dollar deducted. It was a test of commitment and determination, with the ultimate goal of benefiting the children supported by Shriners Children’s. F3 St. Charles met their 2023 goal, and the Anonymous PAX made good on their part of the deal. A few months before the 2024 challenge, another email arrived.

“It appears I underestimated you on 1/3/23,” Anonymous PAX wrote. “On 1/3/24, I challenge you to dig deeper. Are you game?”

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The 2024 event would require an additional layer of commitment. Not only would the PAX need to double their burpee output from 10,000 to 20,000 but also match the $10,000 donation from Anonymous PAX. If all parameters were met, the event would generate a $20,000 donation for the hospital.

F3 St. Charles sprang into action, extending invitations far and wide. Family members and PAX from neighboring F3 groups joined, increasing their fundraising reach.

In the early hours of January 3, the PAX gathered at Legacy Park in Cottleville, Missouri. Unsurprisingly, they completed the 20,000 burpees with relative ease, logging their numbers in an online tracker created by a participating PAX. By the end of the morning’s workout, 83 men had completed 22,720 burpees and topped Anonymous PAX’s aggressive challenge to raise $10,000.

Over $22,000 was raised for Shriners Children’s St. Louis, surpassing expectations and underscoring the impact of grassroots initiatives like the I am THIRD Burpee Challenge. Participants were able to maximize their fundraising efforts through personal asks, social media and utilizing company match programs.

In the end, it wasn’t just about the numbers or the physical feat. It was about solidarity, compassion and the belief that together, we can make a difference for the patients of Shriners Children’s.

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