In loving memory to the greatest warrior I have had the privilege of working with.

Nov 19th, 2016

Category: Thoughts & Motivation

In loving memory to the greatest warrior I have had the privilege of working with.

With my wide range of certifications, I have the blessings on being able to help so many people.  One in particular was Fred Barrell.  He was a Leukemia Warrior and sought me out when his cancer had gone into remission.  We trained diligently for 3 years.  We concentrated on a balanced program, working on his strength, his cardiovascular conditioning, and his flexibility conditioning.  His goal was not weight loss, but it was on his wish list as all the medications and steroids had placed a lot of fluid on his frame.  Leukemia reared his ugly head again, and we had to adjust his program accordingly.  Fred never stopped.  He showed up 3 times a week and adjusted his program to his capabilities and I cheered him on.  He rose to the occasion every single session.  I encouraged him to juice, he bought a juicer, I encourage him to eat vegetables and fruits, which were never his favorites, but trusted my advice and he grew to love fruits and he tolerated all the vegetables.  Fred fought like no warrior I have ever known.  His Leukemia went back into remission and we forged on.  I was honored enough to be on “Fred’s Wellness Team”.  I had free contact with all of his doctors, his nurses, and we all rallied around Fred to rise up and be the best that we could be for him.  He deserved nothing less from us.  His whole team rose every single day because Fred rose above and beyond.  On our 7th year, Leukemia came on full force………….it just TOOK PRESENCE AND MADE ITSELF  KNOWN.  Being the warrior that Fred was, he opted to do a cancer trial with UPENN.  An exploratory trial.  You had to meet certain qualifications for the trial.  The qualification was that “there were no more options”.  It was a complex time, a trying time, an emotional time……..these were all my emotions, so I dare not speak for Fred as to what he had to embrace with this decision.  UPENN had lost  two candidates prior to Fred’s decision, but some had gone into full remission.  Fred being the most amazing spirit that I have been graced to work with, been invited into his family, he made the only FRED DECISION  that could be made.  He entered the trial.  He moved to Pennsylvania and fully committed to “living”.  It was months that I did not see my Fred.  The trial almost took my Fred away, but he, being the willful fighter that he was, came home.  We resumed our training.  The goals had changed.  It was now about quality of life.  It was now about feeling better in his body.  His one request.  “Kirsten, I want to play golf again”.  My reply, “As you will Fred.”  I designed a flexibility program for Fred.  We worked on balance, stability, mobility and endurance.  Fred played golf.  I was glad to rearrange my whole schedule to accommodate great weather days for Fred’s golf.  He refused not to miss his sessions with me, but then again, I made sure he was not going to lose his opportunities to play golf.  It was a miracle witnessing seeing Fred play golf, working with Fred and the undaunting determination and willfulness that he brought.  Fred’s  training schedule with me was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Fred and I trained Monday and Wednesday, I had invited Fred to my home for a celebratory dinner during our Wednesday session for Friday, he happily accepted.  As I was grocery shopping Friday morning for our grand feast, Fred called me from the hospital and apologized for not being able to make it to dinner and apologize for any inconvenience that it might have on me.  Fred Barrell passed the following Wednesday.  I have never been the same.  My willfulness as a trainer has surpassed all levels.  My encouragement of others has no boundaries.  I know determination, I know strength, I know willpower and I know the “don’t give in” mentality.  I know Fred.  He is forever with me.  In my teachings, in my classes, in my pep talks, he is my “RISE ABOVE EVERYTHING AND ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN SUCCESS”.  I was his fitness guide, but he was my “TEACHER”.  He has empowered me to empower others to the heights that have no ceilings.  Fred Barrell, he is my proudest inspiration.


Amazing you Mr. Fred.

Always your trainer, Kirsten



  1. Jana November 20, 2016 at 12:11 am

    As I know you are aware, his passing of this life’s physical body is just that. He is smiling down on his friends and family with out the pain of this existence. Know he is your angel now. Blessing for you and all during this difficult time. We are all each others teachers. Good for you, sharing your gifts gave him a better existence. I love you!

  2. Allison Strickland November 27, 2016 at 6:46 am

    What an amazing tribute from my dad’s friend and wellness/personal trainer. Thanks for all you did for my dad…he truly loved his appointments with you and getting to know you and your family.

    Allison Strickland

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