Matt Newton, better known as “Newt” has been a center stone at CrossFit Solano in Fairfield, CA. Consistently at the top of the leaderboard, eager to cheer others on and helping create true community among the members. He helped program and rally support for an in-house competition last Thanksgiving. Each year he participated in the CrossFit Open. Working out at 4:30 and then sticking around to judge and cheer. He went to competitions as both a competitor and to support those signed up. He was the kind of guy that invited everyone to his birthday. Strong and fierce in his ability to compete, jovial and uplifting in character. Always the life of the party.
Lauren Joseph, part owner of CrossFit Solano and one of Matt’s friends, explains that one day they noticed, he came in last. Unusual for someone who could beat the young bucks consistently. They all assumed it was a chest cold. He took some time off, took it easy. The symptoms persisted. Maybe it was pneumonia? A doctor appointment was scheduled and eventually, on December 5, 2018 Matt learned he had stage 4 cancer in his lungs and spine. Treatments have included an assortment of holistic options, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
Matt is 42 years old. He’s been with his wife for over 27 years, creating a lovely life together. The two have 3 kids and are expecting their first grandchild in June. Matt worked as a chef for over 20 years and now is employed at Sysco in the sales department. He has an athletic background, in high school he was on the football and wrestling teams.
Matt was always one of the fastest and strongest people in his box, but never boastful. His personality enabled him to quickly go from a member at CrossFit Solano to someone essential and valued as a part of the community. Lauren says Newt is like family. She honks each time she drives by his house. He passed his kids snow gear down to her kids. Their families attend each others birthday parties.
Matt called Lauren after receiving the diagnosis. “Lo, I have to tell you myself, I have cancer.” She followed up the standard questions, but was also shocked, beside herself. Matt, so unstoppable. Someone who lives life in such a big and whole hearted way. Lauren teaches the morning classes at CFS and the 5:00 am class used to battle Matt’s 4:30 pm class. Matt would get everyone hyped and was fond of pronouncing “4:30 FO SHO!”
Jonathon Sarup, a coach at CrossFit Solano is another one of Matt’s friends. They met 6 years ago and a few years back became solid workout partners. He’s been my go to everyday for the last 4 years at the 4:30 class, Jonathon says. The two have developed a close bond, working out together, visiting, hanging out outside the gym. Jonathon sees Matt as an older brother and says Matt has welcomed him as part of his family. Jonathon’s admiration runs deep for many reasons. “Matt would be the first to drop what he is doing to help someone else when needed. He supports three children and his beautiful wife, all while maintaining a full time job and fighting his cancer battle.” He takes note on how is friend is able to bring positive energy, positive vibes to so many people and situations. “He added something special to class that made people open up and joke around.”
Matt tells everyone to go to the doctor. Make the appointment. Don’t wait or shrug it off. Using his experience as a message. Due to his health, Matt is not able to go to the gym and workout. His breathing is short and sleep hard to come by. He does still swing by to say “hi” sometimes. When he’s able to attend at CFS gathering, he can’t stay as long as he used to, but it absolutely warms everyone up to have him there. As Lauren so keenly puts it, “his smile still so big, his hugs are still tight, his eyes are kind and when you talks to you, you know he is telling you something.”