With 32 different men and women stepping into the ring for the first time on September 19th, 2019 you can imagine there must be a lot of nerves and emotions swirling around. Excitement, fear, anticipation, hope, dread, the list goes on. They all have someone they are fighting for, they all have individual things driving them. Their lives have all been touched by cancer in some way. As fight night is approaching get an inside look as to what motivates these brave men and women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.

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! – Annie Dragolich

Family and friends who have fought and are still fighting for their lives.
– Martin Sanchez

I recently learned that a guy in my circle of friends was diagnosed with testicular cancer and required surgery and nine weeks of chemotherapy. He has a young family like I do. And being a dad is tough job- I can't imagine what it must be like to fight cancer while also raising young children, but I know people have to do it everyday. So I decided to fight for all the parents out there that are literally fighting for their lives, so that they can have the opportunity to watch their children grow, just as I am so blessed to be doing.
- Adam Baxter

I’m a cancer survivor myself, as is my mother. I can also think of other extended family members and friends who are survivors. Needless to say, this is a very personal battle and journey that I’m on.
- Pranav Vora

I have a long list of friends and family members who have fought valiantly against cancer, some who were victorious, and others whose memories I will simply treasure for the rest of my life. One of the dearest memories I carry with me is my grandma, Thora, who lost her physical fight with leukemia. I have also had the privilege to work with and care for the patients at the Oncology ICU at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Listening to my patient's stories has emphasized that cancer doesn't care where you came from, who you are, or what you have/haven't done in your life. Cancer doesn't discriminate. So, if cancer doesn't rest, then neither should we in our fight for a cure.
- Erika Nelson

Unfortunately, a number of my immediate and extended family members have had to battle or currently are battling cancer. Not all of them have been successful. I also was involved in the Penn State Dance Marathon in college to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. Nothing I will go through on this journey even remotely will approach the fight those battling cancer have to face.
- Rachel Frankel

My Grandmom, Betty Mullins, lost her battle with Cancer when I was in elementary school. She was the kindest person I (or anyone else) ever met. If cancer can target her, it is truly indiscriminate.
- Chris Tipler

I've been fairly lucky as far as how much cancer has affected me. I've lost a few loved ones from it and some people I know or friends of friends have been diagnosed. My inspiration more so comes from the stories I've heard of others who it has affected on a deeper level and who it is affecting currently. I'm also inspired to help fight cancer in the future, because as far as I know, it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. If my fortunate run of having my life unaffected by cancer profoundly were to end, I would want to know that there are others fighting for a cure, too.
- Harrison Slater

After being bombarded over the past year with e-mails, links, and pictures from my friend Erik regarding Haymakers, I reluctantly looked into the organization. What I saw was both inspiring, and to be honest, slightly terrifying. But the fundraising potential for this amazing organization was just to good to pass up. And after a little more thought, (and a good shadow boxing session in my living room), I signed up!
- Sean McCumiskey

My Dad - and the thousands of other people who die from this disease each year - are my inspiration. If they could fight as hard as they did and endure the immense physical and emotional pain of cancer, then surely I can get in a ring and take a few hits. If we're going to find a cure, we need more research, we need more clinical trials, and we need more hope. I am so grateful to have an opportunity to make a small contribution to that. I would like to think my Dad would be proud. Either that, or he's up there fretting about me getting hurt!
- Katie Jennings

Cancer can eat a plate of shit.
- Adrian Howe

My wife’s aunt was battling cancer for a few years, and passed away in the time since I signed up for haymakers. She has two wonderful kids who are about the same age my brother and I were when our mom passed. The pain of watching family suffer is all too familiar. I remember feeling so helpless when she was sick, like there was nothing I could do about it. It reminds me of all those feelings. Being an observer in their fight made me want to “do something” about it, so I signed up for Haymakers for Hope. Like I said above, it's something I've always wanted to do anyway. If the research funded by my fight improves someone's quality of life enough for one more moment with their family then it's more than worth it.
- Jesse Stephens

My inspiration comes from the people out there who are fighting cancer.
 - Adam Aljoburi

Growing up, I had a cousin who was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. Obviously, it had a dramatic effect on my family but my cousin and family were fortunate to find comfort in a place called the Children's INN. When I moved to DC, I became involved with the INN and have been ever since. It is a fantastic place and I would hope people would somehow become involved, as well.
- Michael Dendas