Viper Pit...Gorilla Strong


Last summer, John Friend was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and the immediate prognosis was not good. Given just a few months to two years of life, even with aggressive treatment, John refused to accept defeat.  John dug in and came up with a simple plan.  He vowed to...

"Never Give Up....Ever!" 

John has been an athlete since way back in junior high school, however, after a high school injury, he found himself diving into power-lifting and competing in local/ regional and state events for over twenty years.
After his time in the power lifting world he continued to stay in the gym where one day he picked up an old rusty Russian kettle bell that no one ever seemed to use.  A year later he passed RKC Level 1 and began teaching several kettle bell classes at his home fitness clubs.   A few years later, John passed his ACE personal trainer certification and since then has added a few more certifications under his belt.

John started "Viper Pit Kettle bells" in 2014 and the popularity of his classes and unconventional style has lead to a hugely loyal following of both group class participants and personal training clients. John's specialties are the kettle bell, battle rope, steel mace and club.

In early 2018 John completed nineteen very tough rounds of chemotherapy and a ten plus hour surgery at the Cleveland Clinic where he had his colon, spleen, gall bladder, a piece of his esophagus and a small slice of his small intestine removed.  After just six days in the hospital, John walked out of Cleveland Clinic. Five weeks later he was released with no physical restrictions.  Shortly after this surgery John passed his Cancer Exercise Specialist certification.  "If I can help just one person improve their quality of life, it will all be worth it."   He has named it "Gorilla Strong".

 So back to the gym. He will not be stopped. 

But John's fight is not over. He is continuing with chemotherapy treatments that are taking their toll both physically and financially. 

John has been a school bus driver for Kanawha County schools for over 22 years. Recent changes to PEIA have caused his out of pocket costs to skyrocket.  He was also a River Guide at Rivermen and Adventures on the Gorge for over 30 years.
  • Wes Moquin  
    • $30 
    • 32 mos
  • John Miller  
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 35 mos
  • Debra White 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
  • Tammie & Charlie Dillon 
    • $25 
    • 36 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Heather Davis 
Hurricane, WV
John Friend 
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