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 Adrian Wright-Fitzgerald, fighting out of EverybodyFights in South Boston, MA.

Where are you from?
I am from Benton, PA. Think small, rural farm town deep in the rolling hillsides of northeastern Pennsylvania. It is a close-knit community, and I graduated with less than 50 people in my high school class.

Where did you go to college?
Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA

Did you play any sports growing up?
I was always active, running around like a wild child growing up – soccer, ballet, and horseback riding were some of my first sports. Through middle school and high school, I played field hockey and ran track. I switched gears in college and was a member of the Women’s Rowing team at Duquesne. After college (and a few stints with recreational league softball, kickball, and beach volleyball – all of which I discovered I am pretty terrible at) I started to take up distance running– it was the easiest thing to do without a gym, and I love being outside. Since college, I have run 7 half-marathons and 3 full marathons.

What do you do for work?
I am an Athletic Trainer – a licensed healthcare provider specializing in injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

I have worked as an athletic trainer in college athletics for years, but currently am a full time faculty member in the Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Department at Boston University. In my free time, I am a consulting specialist for the company O2X, where I teach injury prevention workshops with tactical athlete groups like the Boston Fire Department.

Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
This sounds sort of silly - an athletic trainer willingly getting punched in the face?

A few years ago I never would have pictured myself boxing, or fighting. I originally joined EBF for supplementary cross training while I was in marathon training, however I quickly grew to love boxing. The first time I ever put on gloves, I knew that boxing was going to be for me. I have never tried something new that felt so right, it sparked a fire in me, and I have never looked back since. Fighting terrifies me (if I’m being honest) but it is also a challenge that I genuinely look forward to. I love the mental challenge that it brings with it, the combination of footwork, balance, breathing, reaction, and absolute strength and power.

Why on Earth did you sign up to fight??
I signed up because seeing others do it has been so inspiring - it is a journey and challenge that I knew from the first moment I started learning how to box that I wanted to undertake. I signed up because I have the physical ability to train and fight, when so many do not. I am passionate about giving back to others, making a impact, and leading my example, and I hope that my hard work and dedication inspires others to tackle their own fight- whatever that may be.

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

What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (Beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching tv?)
I love food. I don't really crave sweets, which is good - but the salty foods are my downfall. I could eat pizza every day, and I am really going to miss Taco Tuesdays and sitting on the porch with a cold glass of Rosé in the summer

When you’re not throwing punches and training – what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Live music! Traveling, cooking, sitting on the beach with a good book, paddle boarding (ok anything on or around water), spending time with friends, family, my three nephews back in PA and my god-daughter in Pittsburgh

Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
My best friends from college, and my old co-workers from Bentley University, for sure! They are all in my corner but secretly I know they cant wait to see me take a few hits. I know who ISN’T excited - most of my athletic training colleagues, as we are all well educated on the risks of head injury. I better keep my hands up!

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