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Kelsey Horton is throwing her weight behind a cause close to her heart — childhood cancer.

Horton, a powerlifter from Rapid City, appeared earlier this year on NBC’s “The Titan Games.” She has been working to raise awareness locally about the benefits of powerlifting. She co-organized the inaugural Black Hills Classic powerlifting meet this summer, and now she’s launching a new local event, Krush It for the Kids.

Krush It for the Kids is a United States Powerlifting Association-sanctioned meet. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and Krush It for the Kids will raise money for Kamryn Kares, a nonprofit organization created in memory of a toddler whose life was cut short by a brain tumor. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, 15,780 children younger than 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States; about one-fourth don’t survive.

“Kamryn was my cousin’s little girl. She passed away from a brain tumor before her third birthday. So this organization is so very dear to my heart,” Horton said.

Krush It for the Kids starts at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at 605 Grit Fitness, 157 E. Main St. North, Rapid City. The meet is open to all ages and weight classes. The top three male and female weightlifters will receive prizes donated by Universal USA supplements. The entry fee is $65 for one category and all proceeds benefit Krush It for the Kids. Monday is the deadline to register. To register, go to USPA.net.

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Krush It for the Kids already has attracted about 20 competitors from as far away as Rhode Island and Washington state, Horton said. Anyone who’s curious about powerlifting is welcome to attend. Spectators are admitted free of charge. There will be concession booths and places to make donations to Kamryn Kares.

Kamryn Kares donates and ships personalized bags of toys, books and educational items to children nationwide who are fighting childhood cancers or dealing with other major medical issues such as heart transplants and cystic fibrosis. The work of Kamryn Kares is funded entirely by donations, Horton said. For more information, go to kamrynkares.org.

Horton hopes the Black Hills Classic and Krush It for the Kids will become annual events for the region’s powerlifting community.

“I don’t think there’s anything greater than being able to give back and support foundations that are doing a lot,” Horton said.

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