The Shannon Gargaro Cheering Committee
Friday, August 16 2013
Studying the iced coffee selection in a West Newton café, Shannon Gargaro looks like anything but a boxer. The easy smile, the blonde hair, the distance runner’s frame. She looks the part of a fitness model or a weekend warrior. On this Sunday afternoon in August, however, Shannon has one physical feature that suggests she’s doing more than the local 5K circuit. It’s not that she has Manny Pacquiao’s shoulders; it’s her black eye. “It’s not a black eye, just a mouse.” Shannon laughs and tugs on her left eyelid to reveal the reddish bruise. “I’ve had two of them so far.” Shannon’s friends and family are a bit worried about her decision to box. This familial concern is a distinction that she shares with just about every other Haymakers contestant. We’re all novices, and boxing is scary. But if her friends and family realized Shannon’s dedication to this event—fitness and fundraising alike—they might worry less about Shannon’s safety and more about how much they’re willing to donate to her cause. Shannon’s training regimen is as unique as it is impressive. When she’s not boxing, running, or lifting weights, she’s at barre class, which she says helps her flexibility and leg strength. What do her barre buddies think of her boxing? “They think I’m superwoman!” They also worry about her face (thank you, two black eyes). In addition to her weekly regimen of twelve (yes, twelve) workouts, Shannon works full time as a Senior Account Executive for worksite disability income insurance at MassMutual. Says a colleague, John Brady: “I expect that she will put on a show. More importantly, she is raising money for a great cause.” Shannon’s fundraising strategy isn’t your typical email and Facebook one-two punch. As the owner of a portrait photography business, Bella Vita Photography, Shannon teamed up with her sister-in-law, a graphic designer, to create a promotional flyer for the bout (pictured below). Shannon will mail the flyer to her network, but she also plans to post the flyer at her local gyms and cafes. Shannon is a regular at the Keltic Krust café in West Newton. But her biggest fans are behind the counter at the Dunkin’ Donuts. Watching her frequent the shop for weeks sporting a steady rotation of boxing gear, professional-grade cameras, and business attire, the Dunkin’ baristas finally couldn’t contain their curiosity. Shannon explained the Belles of the Brawl. Their response: Where do we buy tickets? Wanting to see for myself, I spoke to two employees who now call themselves members of Shannon’s “cheering committee.” They have October 17 marked on their calendars. Further testament to Shannon’s drive comes from her trainer, Marc Gargaro. By both Shannon and Marc’s admission, they have a great relationship. Eight years ago, shortly after they met, Shannon signed up for private boxing lessons with Marc. She switched to group boxing lessons shortly thereafter and occasionally worked 1-on-1 with Marc. Now she’s back to training with Marc full-time, while the October 17 deadline looms. "She's surprised me with the patience,” says Marc. For her part, Shannon claims that she never argues or complains to Marc during tough training sessions. In the gym, Marc is the expert, Shannon the pupil. Any arguments can wait until they get home, where Marc is the husband, Shannon the wife. The couple has been happily married for two years. “I always say, ‘Live without regret.’” Shannon downs the rest of her iced latte and gathers her bags. She’s just come from a boxing workout, but she doesn’t want to be late for her 4pm barre class. “If I didn’t try boxing now—or something like this—I’d always wonder what I could have been, what I could’ve done in the ring. Could Marc have trained me?” It looks like he can, as long as he can keep up. To help Shannon fight to KO cancer, click here Flyer Info: Photograph Model: Shannon Gargaro. Photo by Lucie Wicker Photography. Flyer by Nicole Gargaro, Cole Gargaro Designs.