Belles of the Brawl VI: Jillian Gundersheim
Monday, August 6 2018
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Belles of the Brawl VI in Boston on October 10th. 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 Jillian Gundersheim, fighting out of EverybodyFights.
Where are you from?
Where’d you go to college?
Did you play any sports growing up?
I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse up until 8th grade but took my real talents to the dance floor. I've been dancing my whole life and danced competitively all the way through college!
What do you do for work?
I'm a Pediatric RN. I started at Boston Children's Hospital on the inpatient Hematology/Oncology Unit and now work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Jimmy Fund Clinic! I also work at South End Community Health Center in Pediatrics as well.
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Never pictured myself fighting...ever. When dance was not a part of my daily life anymore, it definitely left a void. Boxing and dancing have a lot of similarities, especially with rhythm and mind-body connection. Just trying to Cha-Cha Slide my way around the ring and hopefully that works!
Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
My amazing coworker and mentor, Laura Stokes, fought in Belles of the Brawl 2016. I was in complete awe of her dedication and hard work that she put into her training. She is such an phenomenal role model in the ring, at work, and in life. She would wake up at 3 am before day shift and wake herself up early from night shift to get her workouts in and stepped so far out of her comfort zone. When I saw her fight I felt like I was having second-hand excitement and basically had been through Belles training with her. After two years to think about it, a few Sam Summers, and a couple of peer pressure texts from Stokes, I sent in my application and never looked back. I'm so proud to call her my friend and to be able to share this experience with her after completing it myself.
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure – Where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
I'm drawing my inspiration from my patients that are so close to my heart. You haven't seen resiliency until you've seen a kid and their family endure cancer treatment. They are constantly battling the fear of the unknown while trying to focus on 24 hours by 24 hours. They have more mental toughness than they're even aware of and show up day after day ready to get after it. I'm so lucky to be a part of their journeys. I learn something big from them every single day. I'm also fighting for my grandma Bev Siagel who beat cancer twice and Poppa Julius Gundersheim, who continues to live with cancer to this day. They are unbelievable and take care of themselves impeccably to make sure that they are here for us. I love them so much. You'll find them in the front row of HOB possibly with their eyes closed, but regardless ready to watch me perform.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
I REALLY really really miss sleep and my dogs and my family. I'm out of the house early in the morning and back late at night. I also really miss my brain having space for things other than H4H and training. The amount I've worn the same shirt to the gym/haven't washed my wraps because I've forgotten to do laundry...scary stuff. Stay far, far away.
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
I love being with my friends and family, especially my cousins! I also love to eat charcuterie boards (RIP until October), drink tequila (also RIP until October), dance, be in and around any body of water, go to concerts, be with my dogs, ride Pan-Mass Challenge as a pregame to Belles, and I really love to sleep but because I can't do that I really love coffee more than ever.
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Ooooh...unclear. Definitely NOT my family, definitely my friends, and DEFINITELY Laura Stokes
Be sure to check out her fundraising page and wish her luck! Best of luck, Jillian!