Why Belles Fight
Monday, October 2 2017
With 32 different women stepping into the ring for the first time on October 5th you can imagine there must be a lot of nerves and emotions swirling around. Excitement, fear, anticipation, hope, dread, the list goes on. They all have someone they are fighting for, they all have individual things driving them. Their lives have all been touched by cancer in some way. As fight night is approaching get an inside look as to what motivates these brave women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.
I'm drawing my inspiration from every strand of hair that I lost. From every sore on my scalp. From every family member that has been affected by this unforgiving disease and from every scar that has made me the woman I am today. I could have allowed my diagnosis to harden me or make me angry with the world, but I found a little glimpse of light through all the darkness. We cannot always control what life throws our way, we can only control our reaction to it. If you don't climb that mountain, you'll never see the view! - Stephanie Jandrys, The Way
My papa is by far my greatest inspiration. I miss him every day. He was a fighter until the end. He was a kind man with the deepest sense of integrity I have known. He lost his battle to Multiple Myeloma 3 years ago. The medical staff that treated my grandfather and supported my family, went above and beyond to ensure my grandfather was treated with dignity and respect and that we all understood what was happening throughout his treatment. Because of that experience, my inspiration exceeds so much further to all the stories that I have shared with people and their battles and to all those who dedicate their life to treating, caring and fighting this disease. - Maria Scippa, Firicano Boxing & Fitness
My grandfather who lost his fight but was one unstoppable man and my hero. And my aunt who is still in the fight, but a bad ass survivor, I am fighting for them! - Payal Patel, EverybodyFights
I have had friends, family, my husband’s family and my friends family all battle cancer. I am also lucky enough to be on the other side and have friends working towards a cure – the strides that they have made and countless hours dedicated to researching for a cure with fruitful results has been incredibly inspirational to me. It’s very expensive to conduct these trials and every penny raised goes towards the end result of curing a particular type of cancer. Looking back from the early 1900’s up until present day, the magnitude of our efforts have clearly paid off thus far. - Sam Ory, Redline Fight Sports & UFC Gym
I draw my inspiration from my Dad who passed from colon cancer at age 64. He was a Marine Corps Veteran of 38 years and I watched him battle cancer as hard as he possibly could, never giving up right until the very end. - Rebecca LeSaffre, The Way
I was diagnosed with Leukemia about a month after my 4th birthday and spent the following years going through chemotherapy at UMASS Hospital. Over the years, my nana and my aunt Kathy courageously fought and lost their battles with cancer. Although my own fight with cancer is decades in the past, the doctors and nurses that treated me are still helping other little kids through their fights, and that is a huge source of inspiration. - Cara Early, EverybodyFights
I'm drawing inspiration from a lot of sources - family, friends, my Belle-mates. You really never know what tomorrow will bring, and I find it incredibly inspiring that my participation in Haymakers today can contribute - even in some small way - to a better, more hopeful future for those who have been affected by cancer. - Marissa Polichene, Redline Fight Sports
First and foremost, a lot of my inspiration is coming from within. I’ve literally fought for my health over the past year and a half, losing 50 lbs. and gaining a new perspective on what it means to live. I’m not done fighting though and this fight is giving me the push I need to keep going. Cancer has affected my family tremendously. My Nana and my Uncle Billy both passed from cancer in addition to my Mother, who died September 19, 2011, from undetected brain cancer. My mom’s cancer had originated as breast cancer when I was just 11 years old and had spread to her bones when I was 23. It completely devastated my life and through that devastation, I lost control of my life for a few years. One day, it finally clicked that she would want so much more for me. So while I show up for training every day for myself, I’ll be showing up in the ring on October 5th especially for my mom, fighting in her honor. - Katie Barry, Redline Fight Sports
Unfortunately, I think there are few people that cancer hasn't affected in some way. My grandfather, grandmother, and godmother are all cancer survivors! My brother's best friend and best man passed away at 26 years old this past January from ALL. My motivation to participate in Haymakers (which was already high) sky-rocketed after that. The fight is three weeks before my brother's wedding, and his best man will only get to be there in spirit. We need to find a cure for these diseases! - Nicole Bezreh, BoxSmith
Everywhere you turn, someone is fighting for something--incredible causes and even their lives. My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, I want her to know I’m there fighting with her and for her. She doesn’t have to face this alone. - Adriana Kosiba, EverybodyFights
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. -- Jacqui Berardi, Nonantum Boxing Club
My students are my inspiration. We don’t give our youth enough credit-they are more resilient and capable than we think. We, as a society, do not provide them with enough opportunities to show that they can be change makers in our community. It doesn’t have to be when you’re in college or when you’re an adult. Change happens now. It’s about self-discipline- what you learn in that 1 hr of training is more than you’ll ever know. You’re learning skills, life skills, discipline and above all, you’re learning about you. How you respond and how you can improve. If you apply those same skills that you’ve learned in that practice/training/game—you are learning so much more. You are a lot stronger than you think you are and you can convince yourself of anything with the right mindset. As a teacher, I practice what I preach and I hope to be that example for my students-to show them that we all fight in our own ways and that even when we don’t think we’re ready, we have to just try. - Alice Liao, Back Bay Boxing
My interest in boxing slowly evolved to a point where I decided I might fight. Haymakers for Hope supports such a good cause. I've lost three grandparents and an aunt to the disease, and have watched other loved ones battle with it.
What pushed me to apply for Belles was when my friend and coworker was diagnosed with lung cancer in April. It was heartbreaking - how can this happen to such an amazing person? Kind, funny, caring, active, healthy, strong, a new mother - it's not right. Tragically, she lost her fight to this horrible disease in mid-July. She is so missed. This one goes to her. - Jackie Jane, EverybodyFights
I've seen cancer affect my friends and family either directly or indirectly. What amazes me is their resilience. I'll be drawing on them for inspiration - my journey to Belles of the Brawl 2017 can't compare to what those fighting cancer are facing, but if my fundraising dollars can go towards knocking out cancer, then I'm all in. - Daphne Wang, Back Bay Boxing
Cancer affects millions of people and their families. Cancer has hit my family and hit it hard. Some have survived and unfortunately, some succumbed to this disease. I am fighting for every person that cancer has affected! - Deja Cairns, Elite Boxing & Fitness
My inspiration is coming from seeing my grandmother, aunt and uncle all lose their battles to cancer, as well as seeing friends and acquaintances fight. My hope is that my generation can be the generation to cure cancer, and that one day a cancer diagnosis will be as easy to cure as the flu. - Hillary Goodall, EverybodyFights
Everyone has their own reasons for getting into the ring and fighting for a cure. My inspiration to fight for a cure comes from my family, my friends and my team. My father’s strength, my mother’s heart and my sisters tenacity provide me with the focus and inspiration to train every day. A few years ago I watched a friend and co-worker fight and win his battle with Cancer. He may not know, but he inspired me to make some serious life changes and clean up my health (I quit smoking 2 years ago…whoop, whoop!). My team, we call ourselves the “Lion Pride” and this is the toughest group of people I’ve ever been a part of. I draw inspiration from them every day as we train together for our own fights. We have seen each other during the highs and the lows, but we will always have each other’s backs, we are always in each other’s corner. - Laura Julian, EverybodyFights
My inspiration to fight comes from my mom who is a three-time cancer survivor, and from my friend Rita who lost her battle with cancer this past summer. I’ve yet to meet someone that cancer hasn’t affected in some way, and I look forward to the day I meet someone it hasn’t. It’s time to make cancer something of the past. I figure if my mom can beat cancer three times, I can handle three rounds in the ring (fingers crossed). - Leigh Cassidy, EverybodyFights
I really wanted to be able to see if I could positively impact others’ lives and give back using something that was able to vastly increase my quality of life. Everyone I’m surrounded by when training is humble, supportive, and strong. It’s awesome that I’m able to celebrate my newfound passion and give back at the same time. - Mary-Kate Champagne, Union Street Boxing
I’m very grateful that I am able to say that cancer has not had any devastating effects on myself or my family , which I realize is a rare thing for a person to be able to say. I guess that’s why its so important to work together to find a cure because unfortunately most people aren’t able to say that cancer hasn’t affected them or their families. I have had a few family members with cancer but luckily they all caught it early and were able to K.O. their cancer relatively quickly. Unfortunately, from working in the hospital, I have seen many people and families that have been affected. I see how hard it is, not only for the patient but for the entire family. The hardest is seeing kids that have cancer and their parents. You can see in the parents eyes just how helpless they feel. That is the absolutely worst feeling as parent, to feel helpless when it comes to your child. You want to be able to protect your child from anything bad, especially something like this. Haymakers is a great way to fight back and not be helpless in the battle against cancer. - Colleen Lawes, Nonantum Boxing Club
Specifically, I'm fighting for my best friends daughter, Savanah, who started out fighting at just 9 months old. For the pokes, scans, tests, and appointments far away that her and her family have had to go through. I have watched family and friends close to me struggle to stay comfortable, pain free and live a "normal" life. I have seen family members saddened and heart broken and for them I fight. - Kate Merrill, Jim McNally Boxing
Sadly, my story isn’t very different from many other stories. Who hasn’t Cancer touched?
I lost my mother Rita 7 years ago to Lung Cancer. It was horribly quick…. 10 months from diagnosis to her passing. And what made it even worse was that she wasn’t even living in MA when she was diagnosed. She was in Florida at the time, and the day in July of 2009 when she called me and told me her biopsy came back malignant – I made a phone call to Dana Farber and had her scheduled for an appointment within 7 days. They were wonderful! All she needed to do was have her records copied for them. Unfortunately, my parents chose to have treatments where they lived and finally conceded to come back up for treatment at the Farber in December of 2009. At that point, the cancer despite her chemo and radiation prior had metastasized to her bones and her internal organs. She lived with my husband and our kids while she was going back and forth for treatments. After one round of chemo here in Boston that didn’t shrink anything, she opted to choose hospice. That was the last week of March; my mom passed on May 8th, the day before Mother’s Day 2010 in what was truly an emotional blur.
This past weekend, a girl I graduated high school with passed away from a squamous cell skin cancer that affected her throat and tongue. Sadly, she lost her battle leaving behind her husband and two children who are far too young to be without their 46-year-old mother. One of my trainers, Jim McNally – his brother Bernie is battling Brain Cancer. And just today, one of my best friends was told that she has Thyroid Cancer. I’m so scared for her. Cancer is no longer a word you whisper in conversations; it’s in our faces, larger than life and we need to do something about it.
These are just some of the many stories that I draw my inspiration from. Because in the big picture, my training and 6 minutes in the ring pale in comparison to the literal fight for their lives that far too many people are in. - Rebecca Beraldi, Jim McNally Boxing
I am fighting for every person who is battling or has lost their battle - they are the strongest people I know and the most courageous fighters. I can get in the ring and take hits, for that is no comparison to rounds of chemo, surgery, radiation, or the devastation of losing a loved one.
I am also drawing inspiration from a few specific people. I lost my best friend and my grandmother a day apart from each other when I was 15. That was my first real experience with loss - and a double whammy at that. Those losses changed my life, and I fight every day to honor the fight that they showed during their illnesses. I would give anything to tell them I love them one more time - but I draw inspiration from the fact that my work here might give someone else that chance, one more chance to smile, laugh and hug their loved ones.
Another person that I draw inspiration from is Sandy Hoffman, a friend and colleague from Bentley University. After a lengthy process of misdiagnosis, Sandy was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer- adrenal cortical carcinoma - and was given only months to live. Being one of the toughest and most selfless people I have ever met -Sandy coached and worked tirelessly throughout her cancer treatments, giving a new meaning to the term “strong.” She gives me inspiration to this day to “Get Tough” as she liked to tell her volleyball players. During Sandy’s battle, her volleyball players raised money for rare cancer research through a campaign called “Dig Lavendar.” Their funds were subsequently donated to Dana Farber, where Sandy had been treated. It is my honor to continue this fundraising journey with Dana Farber in search of a cure.
The following quote was listed in Sandy’s obituary:
“It’s impossible”, said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “Give it a try” whispered the HEART.” This quote sums up both Sandy, and my inspiration to tackle this journey. - Adrian Wright-Fitzgerald, EverybodyFights