For over 30 years, Dr. Tim Annis served the Dawsonville community as a well-regarded chiropractor. But last July, Annis had a stroke, prompting an outpouring of support from friends, former patients, and his workout colleagues at the Dahlonega CrossFit gym.
In addition to his longtime local presence through his practice, Annis also became known over the past dozen years as a CrossFit enthusiast, starting out at the Dawsonville location before moving over to the Dahlonega gym.
(Story continues below)
Just before Christmas on Friday, Dec. 23, participants from three CrossFit locations gathered in Dahlonega to help raise money toward Annis’ medical bills, with the gyms donating a dollar for each completion of a burpee — an intense conditioning exercise.
By the end of the event, over $5,000 were given to the Annis family.
“The love and support from the CrossFit community has been wonderful,” said Sandy Annis, Dr. Annis’ wife. “It brought tears to my eyes to see friends and strangers pushing their limits and struggling as they used Tim and his current struggle as motivation.”
One individual who brought together the event — and performed the most burpees of all — was Katie Epperson.
She began her quest to help out the Annis family well before the Dec. 23 event, noticing that the prolonged nature of Dr. Annis’ situation required more than just up-front donations.
After racking up her first bulk of burpees in Dahlonega, the word of her initiative spread to the CrossFit gyms in Dawsonville and Gainesville.
Sandy Annis soon found out about it through her son — a student at a chiropractic college in South Carolina. After he learned about the donation efforts on Facebook, he made his way back to Georgia to attend the Dec. 23 event.
For Epperson, Dr. Annis’ care for the local community inspired her to give back — ultimately resulting in her completing 1,965 burpees.
“I would be willing to do however many [burpees] if it meant that the end result would maybe help shoulder some stress this family has been carrying,” Epperson said. “I had no idea it would reach the level it did though. Our small towns and CrossFit community views each member as family.”
As for Dr. Annis, he and his family remain focused on his ongoing recovery. Just a day before the CrossFit burpee event, he moved to a residential rehabilitation facility after 120 days in the hospital and a short stay at a temporary facility.
For many years, fitness was an important part of Dr. Annis’ life. And while he is still working on many aspects of his physical progress, he made a long-awaited pushup just days before the burpee challenge.
“Now that he is dealing with the stroke’s effects and recovery, are humbled by the love and support we are seeing in return,” Sandy Annis said. “We thank each and every person who has donated money, food and simply prayed for us.”