During the coming months, we're highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Hope NYC in New York City on November 16th. 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 Cai, fighting out of EverybodyFights in New York City.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Arizona. However, I’ve always considered myself an East Coast girl at heart.

Where’d you go to college?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Did you play any sports growing up?
I was a fairly active child growing up. After trying swimming, tennis, and track and field, I found that sports were not my thing mostly because I lacked hand eye coordination. I took up dance instead and was trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and tap. Despite being fairly awkward starting out, dance really helped me grow into my own skin and taught me discipline and hard work. When I got to high school, I joined the varsity pom team, cheering for football and basketball games which allowed me to maintain my love for dance but added in elements of performance and competition. From there, I took my dance background and joined a few dance teams in college, leading a contemporary and hip-hop team at MIT and participating in a few Boston dance groups. I believe dancing, just like boxing, is a full body sport, which not only pushes you physically but also challenges you to think creatively. It’s too bad my old high kicks won’t be able to help me in the ring!

What do you do for work?
I work at J.P. Morgan within the debt capital markets platform.

Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Quite honestly, I never pictured myself fighting. Boxing was not a sport I grew up with, but something I learned about when I met my husband, Robi. As I have gotten to know more about boxing, I have gained an immense amount of respect for the sport. Alongside the physical battle you are literally partaking in, there is a lot of mental stamina that is being tested. It’s absolutely insane in the best kind of way. From the first few weeks of training, I have already grown to love the sport and the community that surrounds it.

Why on earth did you sign up to fight?
I signed up to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I don’t know about other people, but I’m definitely not someone who is comfortable getting punched in the face. However, I think the psychological part of “fighting” is really what resonates with me and drew me to sign up to fight.

Life throws a lot of punches at us. Sometimes, they are quick jabs like personal insults or negative words but sometimes we can get hit with that hard left hook like a cancer diagnosis. Regardless of how big or small the punches feel, I believe we decide how to react. Sometimes we might cry a little bit (or a lot), but at the end of the day, we pick ourselves back up and fight for what we believe in. I fight because I have the amazing opportunity each day to choose happiness and health, to love and to serve others, and to cherish family and friends.

You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
Over the past six months, cancer has infiltrated the lives of many people I hold dear. Most recently, my grandfather was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer which has affected his ability to eat and digest both solids and liquids. At this stage, there is no specific treatment in sight, and he is too weak to undergo the intensive surgery required. His hearing is also starting to fade, making our communication more difficult. In addition, my aunt recently underwent chemotherapy as part of her cancer treatment and continues to battle against the disease. While I used to go on frequent visits to see my aunt and grandfather in Taiwan, I haven’t been able to see them over the past several years and miss them dearly. After the fight, I hope to visit my grandfather, encouraging him to continue his battle against the brutal disease.

I know many of you have gone through similar experiences where you or someone close to you has fought cancer. Amidst the physical and emotional suffering, I’ve witnessed amazing exhibits of strength and unity. In my fight, I'm inspired by the strength I've seen and I’m honored to be given the opportunity to fight and raise awareness so that others can have a better chance of conquering the disease.

What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? 
I have a slight obsession with cake. If I’m having a bad day (or really any kind of day for that matter), it’s likely that you’ll find me with a big slice of chocolate cake. Let’s just say that I may be the person handing out baked goods now that I can’t keep them all to myself…

When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
As I alluded to above, I very much enjoy spending time in the kitchen, cooking and baking. Basically, anything that has to do with food. Food with friends is even better. When I’m feeling inspired, I love planning menus and hosting dinner parties.

I also enjoy travel, trying new restaurants, and exercising!

Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
Probably my husband...but only because he’s been trying to get me to join him in boxing ever since we started dating.

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