Why They Fight: Belles of the Brawl VII
Tuesday, October 1 2019
With 32 different women stepping in the ring for the first time on October 9th 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're 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 men and women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.
I draw my inspiration from my mom, and from every other person that is currently or has battled cancer. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, and thankfully, has been in remission for over 7 years. I fight to celebrate her and honor her battle and for my family and all of the families that have been affected by this disease.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer literally days before my 2010 wedding, made my wedding vows - in sickness and in health -- all that more real. I was fortunate that it was caught early. Over the past 9 years, I've helped so many acquaintances, friends, and friends of friends through their respective breast cancer journeys. I fight for myself - in celebration of being cancer free - and in support of others.
I'm fighting so that hopefully in the future others won't have to. I'm fighting for the single parents, the siblings, the grandparents, the friends, the partners, and the kids who aren't given the option of whether to fight. I'm fighting for my Dad, a cancer survivor who's been battling on and off for nearly 20 years.
I have several close family members who have fought cancer, including my mother in law and brother in law, and multiple grandparents. I can only imagine the strength it took to fight their battles, especially my brother in law who was diagnosed in middle school...I mean come on universe, being a teenager is hard enough! Because both my husband and I have had family members with cancer, I'm also fighting for our futures and our future kids, because you never know when you'll be on the other end of that life-changing news. For all those out there who have battled this ugly disease--you are the true fighters and I am so inspired by your determination and strength. I'm fighting for Nana Ronnie, Kim, John, Gitch & the Pritchett fam, WR, and last but not least, for Jim, who I continue to see in the gym almost every day putting in the work, and whose big heart and compassion for others inspires everyone at EBF.
My grandmother passed away from skin cancer when I was very young. She was a wonderful woman who I did not get a chance to know very well aside from distant memories and stories from my mother. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. My cousin is currently battling multiple myeloma. These are just a few examples.
It is kind of incredible how one moment can change your life. Just a few weeks before the Belles signups, Gail was diagnosed with a second type of breast cancer and had to seek emergency treatment. Her biggest concern that she voiced while she was getting treatment? Not if the treatment was working, but how in the world she would be able to finish my three year old nephew’s “ring bearer” suit for my brother’s wedding. My aunt Gail won’t get better, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She has outlived EVERY predicted lifespan that any doctor has given her. I think it is because she maintains her belief that even with her diagnosis, she deserves a good life and so she never stops fighting.
I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring for Belles for Gail, and all the people in my life who continue to fight in a much more important round.
I’m fighting for my dad. My father was recently diagnosed with a cancerous tumor and will be having surgery soon to get it removed. If I have learned anything in this short time that he has been diagnosed, it is that this fight is bigger than all of us, and together, we will win. I will not only be fighting for my father, but for my best friend, Nicole Marshall. Nicole was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer at a very young age, all while working and caring for two young boys. Nicole fought with grace and ultimately won, something not everyone can say. With these two at the forefront of my motivation, they never gave up, and neither will I. This fight is personal for me, as it is for so many families. Help me knock out cancer with any and all donations you are able to give, and I promise to live up to my end of the bargain on October 9th.
For those that fought and won... TRACY... you are a warrior nothing can stop you
For those that fought but lost... my sweet JASON... this world is darker without your light
For those that didn’t get an opportunity to fight... MOM... Life took you away from us too young...You will always be our unsung hero
I fight for all of you!
Cancer is everywhere. Over the years many friends, family members, and classmates have bravely fought this disease. While many of them were lucky enough to beat it, others, unfortunately, were not.
I'm fighting in Belles of the Brawl to raise money, awareness, and support for all of those who fight without a choice. I chose to fight because I understand that the pain of a punch to the jaw or gut is nothing when compared to the pain of chemo, surgery, or losing a loved one to cancer.
I was in the emergency room when the doctor came in and told my mom that they found a mass on her ovary. I remember shaking if off thinking there was no way she had cancer. A few weeks later, my initial denial became a reality - she had ovarian cancer. As troubling as this news was for all of us, I knew SHE would fight back - WE would fight this diagnosis together. As I sit here writing about why I signed up to do this, it's because she won her battle and now I want to help others do the same!
Cancer is unfair. It's invasive, painful and unbiased. It doesn't care how old you are, your gender or the positive impact you have on the world. My aunt Joan, a beloved teacher who kids adore, fought through her breast cancer diagnosis. My brother-in-law Ryan, an army vet, continually braves through surgeries as cancer reappears every few years. My friends and their families, who have battled through remission and loss, continue to pick up the pieces and forge ahead.
So here I go. I'm stepping into the ring to #KOCancer because I get to choose this battle unlike those who are diagnosed. My mom credits Dana Farber with saving her life so all the funds that you donate will go directly to that organization. With your help, we can save more lives and knock-out cancer!
Because cancer is not selective. Sadly because of this fact, I have a few people who are motivating me to knockout cancer. I’m fighting for both my grandmothers and my grandfather who all fought and sadly lost their fight with cancer. But the main reason I’m doing this is for my best friend Gabby (if you’re reading this - hi Gabbs!). Through countless doctor’s appointments and surgery, she always has a smile on her face. This girl is a fighter in her everyday life and I’m honored to be doing this for her.
I want to do everything I can to knockout this vicious disease. This is my chance to fight for those who didn’t choose this fight, for those important people in my life, and for those who are no longer with us. The least I can do is get punched in the face for a good cause (sorry mom)!
I was five when I learned that cancer could take people who you love away.
I remember the day my father sat me down and explained that my Grandmother had passed away... that she was "gone". I asked him if he was sure? "Did they check under her bed, and in the closets? Maybe she was hiding?" I'm sure the questions drove him crazy. That was when I learned that your body didn't actually go to Heaven... also the day I understood souls.
32 years later and I watched my Mom and my Aunt skip right over a picture of me wearing one of my grandmother's wigs, after all of this time that picture and the memory of the loss, still brings tears to their eyes. In 1983 I was naive to what the adults had gone through; protected by the innocence of a child.
Now... 2019...the list of people I know who have battled with this terrible disease seems endless. Some battles have been won, others were not so lucky. I do know, watching someone take their last breaths after fighting so hard, is one of the most difficult things I have experienced.
The courageous fights I have witnessed against cancer, whether they were won or lost... the unknown people deal with, the families involved, the treatments, the financial and emotional toll it takes, the side effects, the hope... These people have helped show me the strength people are capable of... I am truly grateful.
I choose to fight, because I can... I choose to fight, in hopes that fewer people will ever NEED to fight. The people who will need to fight, that their battles become easier, that diagnosis and treatments continue to get better with medical research. With the ultimate goal...The need for any battles comes to an end, that cancer is truly "knocked out".
My “real” second chance came 15 years ago when I found out I was cancer-free after a yearlong battle with thyroid cancer. I fully recognize and appreciate the brilliant and dedicated scientists and doctors, the numerous fundraising events especially H4H, that make treatment, recovery, and hope possible.
I’m hoping the small part that I’m playing to battle this terrible disease will in some way help create second chances for others who are fighting a much tougher fight than the one Melissa and I are training for.
I guess I’ve always been a fighter, it’s a part of who I am. Growing up, I was bullied by a group of mean girls in middle school. Everyday I went to school despite knowing how hard it would be. Later on I found myself fighting for underdogs and those that couldn’t fight for themselves.
When I was 14 years old, my dear Aunt Phil succumbed to her fight with liver cancer and I was devastated. I didn’t really understand cancer and why it would take a perfectly wonderful human being and put them through hell to the point that they were no longer my recognizable aunt. I couldn’t fathom how someone so vibrant could be lost from this world in that way. Since that time, I watched my grandfather battle leukemia, my Auntie Moe (Agnes) battle ovarian cancer, my Uncle Glenn fight multiple myeloma, and a high school friend battle stomach cancer. A little over a year ago, my Aunt Pat died after a two year battle to lung cancer. The list goes on—and all of them lost.
Eight years ago my mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. It was the most devastating news I’ve ever received. I know many people have received similar news about a loved one (or even about themselves!) and perhaps were not as lucky as my family - my heart breaks for those that have lost the battle as I can’t imagine my life without one of the strongest, kindest, generous and selfless people I know.
My mom was fortunate enough to beat the odds but it didn’t come easy. On October 9th, one week before my 40th birthday, I will step into the boxing ring and fight with all I have to come out victorious.
I started boxing last Christmas, around the time my father’s mental and physical health began to seriously decline. I decided to try my hand—to relieve the stress, and keep myself busy. My father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia about 4 years ago. And it’s entirely possible—likely, even—that during the course of my H4H training, he’ll succumb to the disease. So I’m fighting for him, and for myself as I cope with his loss.
That said, we’re also not strangers to cancer in my family; we’ve seen firsthand what it can do. Just as significantly, my friend Sam runs an amazing nonprofit, the Samfund (www.thesamfund.org), which supports young adults struggling financially because of cancer. I’m excited to help KO Cancer, with 100% of my straight donations benefitting the Samfund. I’m excited to get in the best shape of my life and learn how to pose for fighter-y photos. And I’m excited to do this for my father—even though I’m pretty sure he would just reprimand me for using poor judgment. Wouldn’t be the first time.
I am fighting in memory of friends and family that have lost their battle with cancer; for those who are currently fighting their own battle; and in honor of those who have endured this disease and survived.
I take on this challenging fight…..
- To thank my mother for teaching me what courage, strength, and resilience look like, and to acknowledge all the sacrifices she has made to make our lives better.
- To show my mother how inspiring she is to me. I am constantly striving every day to follow her lead and to become a more courageous wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and person.
- To acknowledge how tired of fighting I know my mother must be, even if she will never admit it. I fight for her to be cancer free, so she can enjoy all her days on this earth with her family and friends without the constant fear of what is next.
- For all our loved ones who are currently fighting to beat this unforgiving disease—and for those who have fought but who are no longer with us.
- For the hope that one day we won’t have to fight cancer anymore.
I’m fighting to find a cure, bring awareness and show my support for survivors and all those touched by cancer. Most recently, my colleague and friend of 18 years, Cindy, lost her fourteen-month battle with brain cancer. She would do anything for anyone, but also probably tell me I’m crazy for signing up for this event. I lost my Pepere, my one of a kind Uncle Billy. I’ve seen close friends and acquaintances lose loved ones. I’ve also seen so many people give a big kick in the butt to the disease and fight harder than anything. They have WON and are still WINNING. I want there to be a time someday soon where EVERYONE WINS and we #KOCancer.
In honor of my father, Roger, as well as the Curtis family, all of my direct donations will benefit the incredible programs of TEAM CORK.
If you asked Chris Curtis or my Dad, they'd both tell you the most important things in life are faith, family, and friends. They both have battled cancer with the love and support of family and friends, but not every cancer patient is blessed with the same network of support. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a cancer patient alone at an appointment, scan, or chemotherapy infusion. Team Cork Inc. was founded with the mission to not only raise cancer awareness, but also to raise funds for cancer patient welfare programs, and to provide a support network for those battling cancer alone.
I fight in the memory of family and friends that I've lost who have played a major role in making me who I am today.
I fight alongside my brother, a Marine, who signed up to fight for our country.
I fight for my family, because they are my world.
I fight to prove to myself that I have what it takes to give everything I have to this journey.
And I fight for all of those who are currently battling cancer, have battled, and for all of the family and friends who are impacted by their loved ones going through the fight. That's a fight I could never imagine going through. For anyone going through it or have gone through it, now that's true strength.
No matter how tired, scared, or mentally exhausted I get through these next four months, remembering these reasons why I am fighting is what will keep me going.
I’ve hated cancer for as long as I can remember. I only had 7 short years with my dad before cancer stole him from us. He was the toughest fighter I ever knew and I think of his battle every single time I step into the ring.
I’m fighting for all of the people that have fought that battle and all of those who continue to fight. For everyone who has lost someone to the battle and knows they will never get another chance. I’m fighting because I’m so lucky to be in good health and have this opportunity and I don’t take that for granted one bit.
I've been training for nearly two months now, taking hit after hit to the skull. It's frustrating and it's terribly exhausting. One morning, feeling low and defeated I shouted, "I don't want to get hit anymore!", to which Jordan, of Haymakers for Hope, replied "people don't want to go through chemo."
That statement hit harder than any fist. Nobody wants to be here. We're all fighting against something we'd rather not have to. Cancer.
Cancer isn't selective. You're not given the choice not to fight. That's exactly why I chose to team up with my fellow Belles to battle alongside every other fighter that wasn't given the option. We're all in this together, because sadly, one day we may be the ones thrown into the fight without an alternative.
I am fighting for all those plagued with illnesses that robbed them of the chance to choose their fight. I’m fighting for all the survivors who put mind over matter, who pushed bravely through times of pain just for the chance to live another day, and see another face that counted on them. I’m fighting for all the victims who used every ounce of strength within, but were still taken in the end.
Over the last few years, Cancer had taken a more direct role in our family's life. My husband lost his mother to an inoperable lung tumor, complicated by her COPD. Then both his father and stepfather were diagnosed with different cancers shortly thereafter (Dec 2016). In July 2017, he lost his stepdad. Through a family friend and Haymaker Alumni, he found and applied to Haymakers For Hope. It made him feel a little less helpless in the battle against Cancer. He fought the Rock N Rumble Event in May 2018. During training, he lost his Grandfather to the same cancer that took his stepdad.
My mom, Sharon, has been a patient of Dana Farber and the Mugar Center at Cape Cod Hospital since she was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2012. It is located primarily in her abdomen and around her spine.
The great thing about follicular lymphoma is that it is a slowly progressive disease with an average life span from time of diagnosis of 10 years.
The shitty thing about follicular lymphoma is that it's a slowly progressive disease with an average life span from time of diagnosis of 10 years.
It's like having a live hand grenade in your purse that can detonate at any time. Her affected lymph nodes are in places that surgical removal is not an option. It's a waiting game. Luckily, Dr. Fisher and his team at Dana Farber are experts in this particular subset of oncology. If you are unlucky enough to have lymphoma, being within driving distance to Dana Farber for diagnostics and treatment is the best thing you can hope for. Thanks to Dana Farber in conjunction with Dr. Wade at Cape Cod Hospital, my mom is doing awesome and living her best life.
I fight for my mother-in-law, Josie, one of the strongest women I have ever had the honor to know and love. She was beautiful, sassy, and strong – a true force to be reckoned with. I looked up to her in so many ways. She could not wait to finally become a Nana. I was 7 months pregnant last March when she had her first seizure. What started out as a minor scare, quickly became our worst nightmare. We learned that she had a terminal brain tumor, completely unrelated to the two previous battles with cancer that she had fought and won years ago. The same week that I was in the hospital giving birth to her first grandchild, she was undergoing her first radiation treatment. My husband, Greg, was splitting his time between MGH with me, and Dana Farber with his mother. For months after our daughter was born, Greg spent sleepless nights with a crying newborn and weary mornings in a wheelchair van, taking his mother to 10 hour long appointment filled days for treatment. That is love. That is stress. That is happiness, and that is sadness. There were days that I would look at my husband unable to tell if his face was full of joy or horror. Emotions were no longer what we were used to. His mother was dying, and his daughter had just started living. We lost Josie to her valiantly fought battle with brain cancer this past October when our baby was just 5 months old. One year later, this coming October, I will step into the ring in celebration of all those who have won their fights against cancer, in honor of all those who we’ve lost, and in loving memory of our dear Josie.
Why? I keep getting that question... I keep hearing “Why do you want to do this? After all you’ve been through already?” My answer is simple.... because I physically can. See... I’ve watched diseases take the lives of my father at age 57 and my brother at age 34..... I’ve watched the people I love most suffer and lose the choice to even walk a mile. On top of that I’ve been that person. At 30 years old when my daughter was just 4 months I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Triple Negative is rare and extremely aggressive. So when I was diagnosed, I didn’t have a choice on treatment. It was chemotherapy... surgery.... It made me so weak that it took me two hours to walk one mile. But I had my daughter... I had my husband... I had my mom... So hell if I wasn’t going to fight with everything had. Cancer stole my hair... my body... the comfort of everyday life...but it never stole my hope. I held on to that with everything I had. Hope I’d get my strength back, hope I’d see all my daughters “firsts”....hope I’d have another baby someday. Hope for a future with the people I love. I was told cancer treatment had likely left me infertile. At 30 years old I was done having children... it was devastating blow... everyone wrote off my having kids but I never lost hope. I knew I wasn’t done yet. Sure enough 2 years post treatment I was pregnant with my miracle baby. I carried Noah to full term. He’s a big healthy crazy boy now. Our bodies are so resistant... if we take care of them, if we push them. If we give them hope... It’s taken me 4 years to recover from cancer treatments that left me a shadow of my former self. I’ll never be 100% but I’ve adjusted to my “new normal”. Cancer takes so much from you and the people who love you. You have to live for the day because tomorrow is not promised. Do I worry it will come back? Of course... But do I let it stop me from living? NEVER. So, yes I’m going to train. Yes, I’m going to push my body even more. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, this is probably a crazy thing to do.... but life is to short to say no. Life is to short to not hold on to hope. It’s to short to not make a difference if you can. To give hope to others out there fighting the same fight. If we don’t do what we can to stop cancer, then who will? So help me do this! Let’s make a difference today. Every dollar counts. You count. We can do this. I have a good feeling about it