If She Cantu, So Can You

Written by Evelyn Curry

“I hated what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t recognize her anymore,” Vanessa Cantu remembered.

At the age of 15, Vanessa was in a car accident that left her paralyzed. But when she got pregnant at 30, 5 years ago, Vanessa knew she needed to change her life around.

“My daughter sees. She goes to these competitions with me. I just want her to realize she doesn’t need to feel sorry for me and think that because I have a disability that she needs to take care of me. I want her to see that there’s nothing that I can’t do and I do more than a lot of able bodied moms,” Vanessa said.

After being introduced to CrossFit at a competition, she became hooked.

“It was the first time I had seen young strong people with disabilities doing something. I could relate. It wasn’t such an ugly stigma associated with it. I thought, ‘I could do that. I just have to train.’ That was my mission from that point on and it became very addicting after that,'” she said.

Now Vanessa is a staple of the Adaptive RX Seated Division at WZA. In her last 3 years she has been on the podium every single time:  2nd in 2016, 3rd in both 2017 and 2018. In her 4th year, she sits in 2nd place headed into Day 3.

When asked what her goals were, she said, “I’ve always wanted to see the women’s division grow. For every woman there’s like 3 guys in the men’s division. My goal is to continue seeing that number grow. I would love to say I’m the #1 Crossfit female.”

When we asked her what she liked about WZA. It was a quick answer: “I fell out of my chair last night doing one of the workouts.  We’re not fragile. We’re not gonna break. We’re already broken.  We know how to bounce and get back up. It just exposes everyone else that we’re not as sensitive as you think we are.”