One Instructor is Using Fitness to Fight Cancer (Plus: How You Can Help!)


Ten years ago, Brick New York’s general manager, Will Lanier was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the large intestine (the colon) and rectum. Fast forward ten years later to June of this year, and a routine colonoscopy revealed colon cancer.

Two months and two surgeries later, Will will have his final surgery tomorrow and then will begin the long road to recovery. To help Will and others fighting cancer – the fitness community in New York City is teaming together to bring  _____:CANCER event

Saxon/Hart, Dane Professional Consulting Group, Stonehenge NYC, Lululemon, and many top-tiered trainers of NYC from gyms such as Brick NY, Barry’s Boot Camp, Equinox, FlyWheel and Under Armor, are joining together to raise awareness of colon cancer and ulcerative colitis to the younger generations. This day-long event starting at 7:30 a.m., will feature everything from yoga to bootcamp. Classes are free but donations to are encouraged to support Will Lanier with hospital costs. (Psst: You can sign up for four of the classes via ClassPass, by checking clicking here.

Will sat down to talk about this event and how much fitness has helped him stay positive during this experience.

ClassPass: Where did the idea for  _____:CANCER event come from?
Will Lanier: I wanted a way to turn this annoying/stressful/dumb/terrible/sad situation into something better. As a 28 year old – I kinda thought I was exempt from developing colon cancer – especially leading a healthy life. So I wanted to create a way to bring awareness and fundraise to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. I went to my good friend Heidi Burkhart as I had worked with her previously through her cause marketing company, Saxon/Hart – and I knew she’d be the amazing catalyst to give wings to the event and the cause going forward.

CP: What are your hope for the event?
WL: I hope to raise funds and awareness and encourage people my age (the 20s, 30s, and 40s) to talk with their doctors and really educate themselves on colorectal health. I want everyone to come together, have fun, get sweaty, and bring awareness to such a terrible disease.

CP: For those who are suffering from cancer, what advice would you get to stay motivated and positive? You so portray this through your website!
: Oh man. It’s hard. It is really hard. Smile to keep from crying! The best advice I can give to anyone is to take it one day at a time. Don’t live in the past, don’t live in the future. A mantra I’ve been telling myself lately is “Life is only as hard as you make it.” Having cancer has really put life into perspective: what’s important, what’s not, who your true friends are.

CP: How has fitness helped keep you positive?
WL: Brick is an amazing community and they have been a huge supporter from day one. Going into surgery as fit as possible really helped in the length of my recovery. Many people who go through the same surgery I did are in the hospital for a week or more. I left after four days. Since surgery, although I was limited in what I could do (no lifting anything heavier than ten pounds), I was able to run, spin and do some body-weight exercises, and though I’m not in my best fighting shape, I feel really positive going into this stage.


The best fitness studios, classes, and experiences are on ClassPass. Work out where you want, when you want, and how you want, all with one membership. Join our community on Facebook and Instagram!