By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
On Aug. 29, fitness lovers, friends, and family gathered for a day of exercise to celebrate the life of Dawn Ditano.
Dawn Ditano Day was held at Crossfit508 in Plainville. Ditano was one of the gym’s original trainers when it opened in 2010, beginning as part-time and later on quitting her job as a welder to become full-time. Ditano passed away on Sept. 10, 2015, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer that July.
Dawn Marie Angus, the gym’s owner, described her friend as one of the toughest people she knew, but at the same time very kind and caring.
“Nothing came easy for her, she was the person that would put in the work, the hardest working person you would ever meet,” said Angus. “She had such integrity about what she did. If it wasn’t right, it didn’t count in her book.”
Following Ditano’s passing, Angus said friends and family felt that a memorial didn’t seem right, and a birthday party was more fitting. Angus said she and Ditano often talked about what they wanted to do for their 70th birthday, and agreed it should be one of fun, workouts, and a barbecue, which is just what they did to celebrate Ditano’s life.
On the big day, more than 100 people attended, with 50 participating in different workouts—past and current members, along with friends and family. They worked in teams in three different workouts on different fitness levels. Judges scored each team and those that placed in first through third were recognized on the podium. Angus and Ditano used to compete in CrossFit and loved to be on the podium.
“We weren’t shy about the podium,” she said with a laugh.
Angus said that if you only saw Ditano from the outside, she would appear stern and to the point. She remembered the various “Ditanoisms” that found their way into everyone’s vernacular, like “suck it up, cupcake.” At the same time, she was an inspiration, said Angus, and would give her all to help someone. Her impact was powerful, and Angus recalled when her friend was at Mass General, the former CEO of CrossFit flew over to visit her.
“She was living her best life—she just loved every second of her life,” said Angus. “Coaching and training and making people belief in themselves.”