Sorry, Mrs. Early
Tuesday, September 5 2017
“Are you done with this nonsense already?”
“This is silly. Absurd. I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I’m done.”
“Why can’t you do something normal, like run a 5K?”
~ Mrs. Early
Cara Early’s mom is concerned about the fact that her daughter, come October 5th, will come face-to-face with another comparably-sized human being, a person whose sole purpose on that particular day will be to attempt to beat Cara with her fists.
It is not unreasonable for Cara’s mom to be feeling concerned. As a father myself, I would never allow my daughter to get into a boxing ring. Not in a million years.
Granted my daughter is a one-year-old, but still.
Watching your baby, however old, step into a boxing ring and quite possibly leave it bloody and beaten is a lot to take in. You can’t blame Mrs. Early for being a bit squeamish about it all.
“I think she’s finally coming to grips with it,” Cara says, laughing, “I know she’ll be there for the fight. I mean, she’ll probably be at the bar, but she will physically be in the building.”
“The training is really intense. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It’s all consuming,” she says, “My friends think I’ve joined a cult. I end up talking to people from the gym more than I see the normal people that have always been in my life. They are like, where are you?”
With all the potential bloody noses, bruises, and black eyes (not to mention the cult rumors flying around), Mrs. Early gets a total pass for resisting her daughter’s voluntary decision to become a Haymakers for Hope fighter and all that that comes with.
It has to be a lot to ask a woman to watch her daughter fight.
Cara Early was diagnosed with leukemia when she was four years old.
“I remember being at the hospital. Treatments that were really painful. There were tests I remember. Really big needles.”
“I knew I was sick,” she recalls, “but I don’t think I understood until later what cancer is, how sick I actually was. When you’re four, you just don’t know. I was little. I knew I was losing my hair. I knew I was pissed about it. I had to miss school, which I loved. You don’t really grasp the implications until later.”
“My parents did their best to treat me normally. My older siblings grasped it a lot more. My sister was nine or ten and my brother was eleven or twelve. They got it. They understood what cancer is and how sick I was.”
“I was really lucky to live in Massachusetts,” she says, “You don’t think ‘lucky’ when you think about cancer, but I was treated at UMass in Worcester, about 20 minutes from my parents’ house. I was able to have a normal childhood while getting the best treatment in the world.”
Cara has been in remission since May of 1996, when she was seven years old. Today she works for an investment management firm in Boston and, after attending a friend’s Haymaker’s fight, found herself signing up after a few cocktails.
“Yes, the initial push was maybe a little bit alcohol infused,” the self proclaimed boxing-newbie laughs. “I’m getting excited. It’s a total unknown. I’ve sparred at this point, but never boxed in a real boxing match. Add that it’s the House of Blues, plus, what, two-thousand people? I’ve never competed in any athletic venue before.”
Cara is training with Roscoe Hill and Julia Sarni at EverybodyFights.
“It is so awesome,” she says of the gym, “It is such a community. So many people there are rallying behind Haymakers.”
“The self discipline is the worst part. It’s summer. Do I really not want to go out for happy hours with my coworkers on a Thursday night and instead go to the gym? Plus the physical aspect has been really, really tough. Actually getting hit, and being okay with getting hit, and simply knowing that it is going to happen. It’s been hard in many different ways. It’s brutal.”
No matter hard the training is, Cara has the life experience to keep everything in perspective and see the importance of this journey. For Cara, putting her body at risk, sacrificing her time in the gym and fundraising, and giving her mother a few gray hairs isn’t just a way of helping others. It’s a way to say thank you.
“Haymaker’s is a new chapter for me. I want to do something. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a researcher, there’s not really all that much that I can contribute to the community that gave me so much. I’m fighting for all the people who fought for me when I battled cancer. It’s a way to honor them. The nurses, the doctors, family members. They fought for me when I couldn’t. I’m fighting for them.”
Sorry Mrs. Early. Can’t really argue with that.
Go get’em, Cara.