Hope NYC VII: Why They Fight
Wednesday, October 31 2018
With 32 different men and women stepping into the ring for the first time on November 15th 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 men and women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.
As I've been reading these fighter profiles over the past number of weeks, it has proven a stark reminder the sheer breadth of cancers reaches and how malevolent it truly is. So while I draw motivation from the commitment all of these fighters have made to fight for their friends and families, along with all those I know have been touched by cancer in some form, it is my father, who just last week found out his cancer has returned, whom I will be drawing my inspiration from.
All the friends, family and colleagues who are diagnosed and impacted. Of course, my number one inspiration is my wife who is everything cancer is not. Really the nicest, selfless and sympathetic person you will ever come across, who went through such a dark life altering journey that I joined her on, right by her side. I don't have to think too hard or close my eyes too long to remember the memories from those years, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as it keeps us in check going forward, reminding us what really matters in life. Don't forget of course my children, Aidan and Amber, whom I constantly remind that they can be anything in life simply with direction, very relatable to my experience stepping in the ring. I also can't forget that without my daughter, we may have never discovered Gina was sick. So no matter how bad of a teenager she may turn out to be, she's got a perpetual "Get Out of Jail for Free" card from me. But please don't tell her that.
- Stephen Gill
My dad had a 5 yr bout with cancer in his face. Unfortunately, he had his nose removed and now has a prosthetic.
Cancer has afflicted some of my family members and friends. It is a terrible disease. I am just trying to do what little I can to help find a cure.
A couple family members have unfortunately suffered from, but thankfully beat, cancer. They've never directly spoken about it, but I know they went through a grueling recovery process. I'm more than happy to get beat up if that means cancer is too!
I'm drawing inspiration from the memories of the family members I've lost to cancer. My aunt, someone who helped raise me, lost her battle at the end of 2015. Another aunt of mine passed on at the end of 2017. They were both vibrant, dynamic, and beautiful people. I watched the disease sap the strength from their bodies, but throughout it all they were both positive, dignified, and indelibly themselves. Cancer took their health and eventually their lives, but it didn't change who they were as people. If I can take half the strength they had with me into the ring then I'll feel like I honored them, regardless of the outcome.
My Mom had a very close call with Cancer, but won her fight and has been cancer-free for 15 years now! Plus I know many other family members, and friends that have been impacted over the years.
I’m just trying to do what I can to help the countless victims and all of the health professionals working every day.
I think cancer affects nearly everyone in some way - whether it happens to family, family friends, colleagues, friends, or friends of friends. My grandpa had prostate cancer. One of my mom's best friends passed suddenly from ovarian cancer. A friend from college has been battling a horrible brain tumor for years. One of my best friends is a gene carrier of BRACA which has enormous implications towards developing cancer and for future reproductive capabilities.
Like virtually everyone, I have lost multiple loved ones to cancer and have also seen many friends and their families have to go through the difficulties associated with the disease. I’m drawing inspiration from my family members, a close friend in Middle and High School who battled with Leukaemia several times before passing away, and a friend who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Cancer has affected all of us. I lost my Aunt Mary to breast cancer in 2013. My Uncle Richard to brain cancer before that. It’s a frightful disease that doesn’t know race, creed, socioeconomic class, gender. We are all united in needing to find better treatments or, better yet, a cure!
Cancer has affected my family and my wife's family in a deeply meaningful way having lost loved ones to both ovarian and colon cancer. I'm fighting for them. I'm also fighting to ensure research is properly funded and advances are made to eradicate this horrible disease.
I lost my grandfather and my stepfather to cancer.Both of them WAY too young. I am also drawing a ton of inspiration from people who have to battle something each and every day, and do it. To me, determination is one of the most admirable qualities in a person. Through my training I want my daughter to see her mother be determined. I want myself to push harder than I ever had and I want to honor all those fighters who have worked so hard every single day of their lives.
My mother’s bout with breast cancer when I was just a 3rd grader. She’s beat cancer’s ass and has remained cancer free for 19 years. Over that time, I’ve seen cancer take a toll on cousins, aunts, and friends losing several of them way too quickly. I’m incredibly lucky to have my Mom healthy and cancer free since 1999. It was the best case scenario, and I don’t reflect on how amazing her story has been. I also miss these other influential people like crazy, and I want to do something in their honor and for their loved ones; A fight seems fitting.
Members of my extended family and my friends are currently battling or have battled cancer. I'm drawing inspiration from them, knowing that any pain or stress I'll be going through with my training is nothing compared to what they are dealing with or have dealt with.
My grandfather, Jim Grogan, was a Union Asbestos Laborer for many years and as such was exposed to the carcinogenic agent that is asbestos. He developed mesothelioma and asbestosis (cancers of the lungs) as a result. The tail-end of his career in the asbestos industry is hallmarked by his fight against these diseases with the development of a tissue bank at Mt. Sinai to support the research of these terrible diseases. He is also an avid boxing/mma fan, so he'll be excited to see some punches thrown!
Father, Grandfather, Grandmother.
Unfortunately, like most, I have had far too many people in my life who have battled this disease. Some have won but too many have lost. This fight took on new meaning for me when I found out that my friend Rocky was battling pancreatic cancer. I found this out just as I was accepted.
In my personal life, my father just recently finished his treatment for CLL and my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer so I have both of them in my mind. And through my past involvement with The Valerie Fund I've also had a chance to meet some of these amazing kids who have overcome so much, so it is a huge motivation do be able to do a little something for them as well.
I have a pretty elaborate backstory but the condensed version is my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor ten years ago and Is still fighting to recover a decade later. On top of raising money for research, I’m fighting to show her that I got her back for life.