Wednesday, January 31 2018
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Rock ‘N Rumble VIII in Boston on May 17th. They’ve committed to four months of fundraising and training in preparation to get in the ring and literally fight for a cure. Whether their mom is battling, 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 Patrick Harney, fighting out of the Crush It Fitness.
Where are you from?
Where’d you go to college?
Did you play any sports growing up?
Yes, I was total gym rat growing up. My father died of cancer when I was 9 and since my mother had to work, my brother and I were I always in sports camps, we were ball boys for the high school teams and, eventually, on school and travel teams. I played football and lacrosse through high school and lacrosse briefly in college. Excited to have boxing in my life.
What do you do for work?
Lead family office teams for TwinFocus Capital Partners.
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
I have always been drawn to boxing, particularly things like HBO's 24/7 series that chronicles the training- I guess it is what the training and eventual fight reveals about the fighter that I find super compelling. Not sure I ever pictured myself fighting, but often wondered what having that unique and singular focus required for a fight is like. Hopefully, I will get to know it...
Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
Last November marked my 40th birthday. Leading up to that milestone though, the number I was focused on was 12. My father died 31-years ago, at the age of 52, from pancreatic cancer. While I never considered 52 old, approaching 40 made me realize how young 52 really is. The question of “what if I only had 12-years left?” hit me like a ton of bricks (or perhaps an uppercut, I will learn). At the time, I was overweight, in terrible shape, and was missing out on a lot of great aspects of life. Meanwhile, my wife was diligently going to boxing class at 5AM almost daily and the kids were getting bigger and more active every day. I knew I had to make a change fast. Instead of easing into anything, I went "all in". I went to a nutritionist, took blood tests to screen food sensitivities, and then actually followed the recommended actions. For exercise, I was doing a boxing-based workout at Crushit Fitness. After shedding over 30-lbs I felt like I could start to think about taking on a big physical and mental challenge. I must have been feeling particularly good one day in December when Paul Karger, one of the TwinFocus founders and an avid advocate for boxing and combat sports, sent around the Haymaker’s signup to inquire if anyone on the team would consider participating.. I applied to participate and here we are. While there are plenty of nerves that come with signing up to box someone just as motivated as you are, in front of a crowd of 2,000, I am excited to be putting myself out there and to test myself. The opportunity to keep working hard and get in great shape while fighting cancer made too much sense, given this all started with the question "what if I only had 12-years left?".
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
Easiest question I will get through all of this. My parents. As mentioned, my father, Joseph Harney, died too young, succumbing to pancreatic cancer. After 31-years people still stop me to tell me stories about a kind gesture from him, or advice he provided them. He would have been a Hall of Fame grandfather. My mother, Carol Harney, had to raise 7 children, all at different stages of life, all with different challenges. She has also been there for countless other people who need support and consolation, whether due to cancer or other challenges. The magnitude of what she was able to do reveals itself more and more as I get older and have a family of my own. Anything I can do to contribute even a little to the prospect of preventing another family from losing someone too young from cancer is a great source of inspiration.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
I made some significant dietary changes last fall, going on a gluten and dairy free diet, so fortunately I only have a few enjoyable vices left to even give up at this point. I think the greatest challenge is just managing my time and knowing that if an activity is not moving the needle with my family, work, or training, then it is distracting from those things.
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Middle school sports for kids in Boston and Lawrence through the Play Ball! Foundation, which is an organization I have been with since its founding over 10-years ago. Mostly, my wife and I just try to hang with our kids, who are 4 and 2. Luckily, its the most fund we have ever had.
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
My wife isn't sure she can even watch my fight, so glad to report I can exclude her presently. I think the old gang from high school and college would enjoy me getting a few shots in the face to have as ammunition for our ongoing text chains, which are mostly trash talk.