During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Beltway Brawl on September 19th. 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 Annie Dragolich, fighting out of Downtown Boxing Club.

Where are you from?
Cleveland, Ohio

Where’d you go to college?
Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA

Did you play any sports growing up?
Yes! I loved all sports as a kid, but competitively I played softball, basketball and volleyball.

What do you do for work?
How D.C. of you to ask! I'm a Manager for Lyft, focused on training and development.

Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Boxing is an awesome sport, but I never imagined I'd be the one throwing (and taking) punches!

Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
Almost exactly one year after having a double mastectomy, I met Mark Avery from H4H at another charity event in DC. When he told me about Haymakers for Hope, I knew immediately it was something I needed to be a part of. After my surgery I said I'd never take my body for granted and would find new ways to push myself. Haymakers sounded like the perfect challenge!

You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure - where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
In June 2016, my dad was diagnosed with breast cancer and discovered he had the BRCA2 (breast cancer gene) mutation, which increases the risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. My sister and I both tested positive for the gene as well, and as part of the initial screening, I discovered I already had breast cancer. In September of 2017, I said "ta ta" to my ta-ta's and underwent a double mastectomy. As tough as it was, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. In 2017, over 40,000 women and men were estimated to lose their lives to breast cancer. For me, I only lost a couple months. So why do I fight? Because I can!

What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
Ice cream, tacos, sleep. In that order.

When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Besides ice cream, tacos and sleep? I love anything outdoors - hiking, camping, climbing, snowboarding, wandering around the city, etc.

Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
I think my sister is pretty pumped to see me take a few punches!

Check out her fundraising page and be sure to wish her luck! Best of luck, Annie!