Belles of the Brawl V: Jacqui Berardi
Wednesday, July 19 2017
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Belles of the Brawl V in Boston on October 5th. They’ve committed to four months of fundraising and training in preparation to get in the ring and literally fight for a cure. Whether they've had first hand experience, their father has passed or their friend has put up a victory against the disease – they’ve all got a story to tell and they’ve all got a reason to fight. Below you’ll hear from Jacqui Berardi, fighting out of Nonantum Boxing Club in Newton, MA.
Where are you from?
The Loaded question lol I spent my school years growing up in Marlboro, MA. My family is all from the Watertown/Brighton area and they moved back to Newton 16 years ago. I currently live in the South Shore area.
Where’d you go to College?
I received my bachelors in Hospitality Management from Newbury College. After college, I went on to study culinary arts in both Florence, Italy & Barcelona, Spain.
Did you play any sports growing up?
I’m pretty sure I tried every sport for at least one season, well besides football because they wouldn’t let girls play back then! But if they did I would’ve been all over that. Basketball & softball were my top two sports through high school.
What do you do for work?
I’m in the restaurant industry. I own a breakfast eafé called Jac’s Café & a sports bar- Players Sports Bar & Grille. Both are located in Rockland. On any given day, you can find me pouring coffee, serving drinks, sweeping floors, washing dishes or up to my ears in paperwork.
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
I’ve always stayed pretty active and the gym has always been my one place to release from daily stress. Years ago a friend suggested I include classes at Nonantum Boxing Club into my routine. I was hooked immediately and loved the Conditioning involved in a fighter’s regimen. Actually, training and fighting for a boxing match has been on the top of my bucket list ever since.
Why on earth did you sign up to fight?
The same friend that suggested boxing, fought in the 2012 Haymakers and I went to the event that night. I loved the everything about it, I remember having goosebumps the whole night, thinking how amazing it was to see all these people from different walks of life getting out of their comfort zone and training to fight for a cure. In the past 5 years since I’ve opened two restaurants and had a baby, I figured it was time to tackle this goal!
You’re stepping into the ring to literally fight for a cure- where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has Cancer affected you?
I literally can remember the word CANCER from the day I can pretty much remember anything as a young child. Although at the time I didn’t fully understand what it was, I knew it was what my cousin Jamie (2 yrs my senior) had been diagnosed with. Jaime was my best friend and passed away at home from brain cancer right before her 7th birthday. I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and what it would’ve been like to have her here all these years through life’s milestones. This is why I have asked for all of my donations to be restricted to Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer Center. Jaime spent a lot of time in Boston Children’s Hospital as did my family. I know she’ll be there looking down cheering me on come October 5th!
Unfortunately, in my early teens CANCER returned to my life this time taking the life of my cousin Tracy, she was beautiful, successful, engaged and building her dream house as a young adult. I always looked up to her and she was taken from us way before her time. I think it was then I really realized how much Cancer sucks!!! Many other friends & people I know have been severely affected by Cancer, and the more I talk to people about Haymakers the more I learn of people whom have fought the battle or are currently.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training?
Well I would like to say sleep but with the two restaurants and a 3yo, sleep is not an option. I think by far the most challenging is going to be not eating the INSANE specials we come up with at Jac’s Café! Think Banana Bread French toast & Cannoli Flapjacs! Most people can have their meals prepped and avoid restaurants where they may be tempted. I live in TEMPTATION City, developing the specials with Chef and then walking away without a taste is going to take a lot of willpower! Sugar destroys me and luckily we have many healthy options so wish me luck:)
When you’re not throwing punches and training—what other hobbies/interests do you have?
I don’t have much free time as you’ve probably imagined by now but when I do you will find me with my family especially my son Nico. I’ll never get these years back with him so I try to make every minute count!
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Haha well, I’ve had to hire/fire a lot of people in my fast-turning Industry, so I’m sure there’s a few of them that would be happy. My support much outweighs any of that hater bs! Other than that, I would say my sister and brother. They probably secretly want to see me get punched in the face for all those sibling rivalries we had!
Be sure to check out her fundraising page here and wish her luck! Best of luck, Jacqui!