During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Belles of the Brawl V in Boston on October 5th. 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 Rebecca Beraldi, fighting out of Jim McNally Boxing in North Reading, MA.

Where are you from?
I live in Andover, MA.

Where did you go to college?
Well, I spent one year at Community College; I was denied financial aid to attend major colleges and my parents couldn’t truly afford to send me to school. So I went to community college and would’ve loved to have finished and follow on at a state school – but I needed to work full time and couldn’t manage both school and work at that time. That’s okay though, higher education just wasn’t in the cards for me. That’s why I work so hard now so that my children won’t have to worry about that. J

Did you play any sports growing up?
Sadly, no. No team sports. I loved BMX racing and short distance running. Both solitary type of things, similar to boxing in that respect I suppose!

What do you do for work?
I am an entrepreneur – a small business owner! My husband and I own two adult beverage and gourmet shops. One we bought -- it was already existing; the other we built from the ground up. It was a lot of hard work, but it was exciting to watch something that you imagine in your head -- come to life. It’s a pretty physical job, unloading cases of beer and wine, etc., - those cases of champagne weigh upwards of 50lbs! But there’s also the retail and customer service side of the job that I absolutely love.

Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Why not? ;) Actually, yes. My husband is a former boxer and currently a trainer. (He still mixes it up in the ring from time to time!) When I was getting in shape for our wedding, I joined a karate studio; after some time my Sensai started working me towards kickboxing. I loved it! I had expressed to my husband that I would love to try my hand at boxing; but at that point in time, there were very few women at boxing gyms in the Boston area, let alone training to compete. Thankfully that has changed over the last few years! I initially heard about Haymakers about 4 years ago when training at another gym and thought that it would be something I’d be interested in doing. And here I am today…. J

Why on Earth did you sign up to fight??
I’m a fairly competitive person – not so much with other people, but with myself. I’m always pushing myself to accomplish more. To be as good at what I’m doing as I possibly can be. And, I think I’m a fighter by nature. I put in my quote on my donation page what the definition of a fighter is: “fighter: a person with the will, courage, determination or disposition to fight, struggle, resist, etc.” I was fortunate that my parents instilled in me the confidence to feel that there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish if I put my mind to it. And while I’m not obstinate to the point of being impractical – I wouldn’t be where I am in life today if I listened to others who told me that I wasn’t able to do things, or that certain goals weren’t possible. I resisted, I have struggled – and even fought harder than I should’ve had to at times. But it’s all good. It’s made me a better person for it.

You’re stepping into the ring to literally fight for a cure. Where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has Cancer affected you?
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.

What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (Beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching tv?)
The hardest thing for me is that I really enjoy having a glass or two of wine on the weekends. And Doritos. I love love love Doritos. When my husband goes food shopping and he buys them – I literally can’t stop thinking about them being in the cabinet! So I’m always secretly glad when the kids grab them before I notice they’re there…

When you’re not throwing punches and training – what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Well, I’m a full-time business owner, Mom and Uber Driver for my kids! Seriously, between my daughter’s softball practices and tournaments (she’s on 3 teams) and my son’s social calendar and his boxing training – who has time for a hobby? I enjoy relaxing and catching up on guilty pleasure television, hanging out with my husband and our awesome German Shepherd, Caesar. When the kids are older, I’ll develop new hobbies and interests, like traveling the world with my husband. Maybe we’ll buy a winery in France or something…

Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Oooh, good question. Not my husband – he’s one of my trainers! I’m not sure, hopefully, no one! I’d like to think that no one wants to see me take a punch to the face. Except, of course, my opponent – whomever she may be. ;)

Be sure to check out her fundraising page here and wish her luck! Best of luck, Rebecca!