Celebrating Strength and Sisterhood: The Charm City Strongwoman Competition

In the heart of Baltimore, an extraordinary event takes place each year that celebrates strength, community, and the enduring spirit of a beloved sister. The Charm City Strongwoman Competition, organized by Emily Socolinsky at Fivex3 Training, is more than just a fundraiser—it’s a heartfelt tribute to her sister, Charlotte, who passed away on February 11, 2015. This annual event raises money for the Ulman Foundation and our mission to support the adolescent and young adult cancer community.

Group of young adults high-fiving before a run

Charlotte’s Story: Resilience and Transformation

Charlotte and Emily were born just 20 months apart. Growing up, they were always close but pursued their own individual interests and hobbies—Emily as the dancer and Charlotte as the singer. However, their bond grew even stronger when Charlotte had her first child, a son, in 2007, and later her daughter in 2010. It was during her second pregnancy, after exploring the source of some unusual stomach pains with her doctor, that she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.

That’s when the whirlwind of treatment started, with surgery in October, followed by chemotherapy in November, and by December she was performing again with her band. Charlotte didn’t view cancer as something that could stop her but as a barrier in her life that she would get through. While she was determined not to let it stop her, it did give her a new perspective on life.

Hear Charlotte share her story in this 2014 interview.

Charlotte had always been known for her grit and no-nonsense attitude. However, cancer softened her, giving her the clarity needed to prioritize what mattered most in her life—her roles as a mother, sister, friend, and daughter.

It was after Charlotte learned that her cancer returned in 2013 that she discovered the Ulman Foundation. Through Ulman’s events and programs, a new world opened up for her, full of new friends and new experiences. Ulman Foundation’s Cancer to 5K program led her to discover a new passion for running, which gave her something to look forward to and a community of people who felt as close as family. Emily remembers Charlotte saying, “I got cancer, but then I got Ulman. If I hadn’t been diagnosed, I wouldn’t have the life and community I have now.”

The Birth of the Charm City Strongwoman Competition: A Celebration of Strength and Community

Emily and her family were eager to do more to help Charlotte while she was in treatment, but it was difficult to find roles and meaningful ways to make a difference. That’s when Emily and her team at Fivex3 Training had the idea to host a fundraiser event at the gym—and the Charm City Strongwoman Contest was born. The event was an immediate success, and by the second year, it had 41 women competing in various physically challenging categories. The competition was designed to empower women who doubted their own strength, helping them discover their power and resilience.

Over the past 13 years, the Charm City Strongwoman contest has grown into a major event featuring traditional strongman events like truck pulls, log presses, keg carries, yoke carries, and stone lifts. Each year, events have gotten heavier, but not so heavy that people who are just starting can’t do it. From attendees to participants, everyone is there to root for each other—not really to compete, but to lift others up and prove something to themselves.

Since becoming the beneficiary of Charm City Strongwoman’s fundraising efforts in 2018, Emily and the women of the event have raised more than $100,000 for the Ulman Foundation! “Charlotte would be amazed at how her legacy continues to inspire and empower others,” Emily says.

How You Can Get Involved & Support Charlotte’s Legacy

The next Charm City Strongwoman Competition is just around the corner on Sunday, June 9th, located in Brewer’s Hill at 4015 Foster Avenue, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, United States, 21224.

The event kicks off at 9:30 AM and runs until around noon. You can support Charlotte’s legacy and donate to the fundraiser by visiting this link. Spectators and supporters of people doing amazing things are encouraged to come by and check out the event! Attendees can also enjoy offerings from Jimmy’s Food Truck and Mob Town Brewing.

Emily invites everyone to join in: “Witness the strength, camaraderie, and incredible impact we can have when we come together for a common cause. It’s a powerful experience you won’t forget.”

Donate to Charm City Strongwoman Fundraiser

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