When athletes sign up for Haymakers for Hope, they’re quick to spot boxing’s similarities to the disease they’re fighting against. The sport can be lonely and relentless, exhausting and scary. New York-based consultant and 2019 fighter JC Uva is one of the few people who has fought cancer from both sides. At age 17, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. 

“I was a high school athlete, so I always had a fighting mindset. I remember cancer felt like a fight at the time.” JC won his battle with cancer, and on November 14, he’s getting ready for another go-around with the disease, this time to support other patients. 

JC’s in a unique position to raise awareness for the fight against cancer. “Having been through chemo and surgery, training for a fight is a decent proxy because so much of it is having things you have to do but don’t necessarily want to do. You have to go to the doctor, you have to get treatments. When you’re boxing you have to condition, you watch what you eat.”

When he talks about his own cancer battle, though, he’s noticeably void of any negativity or complaining; he’s actually full of gratitude. “I was treated by an organization called The Valerie Fund in New Jersey. My parents supported it when I became sick, and in 2009 I founded their Junior Board, which brings in money and awareness from younger professionals. We’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Now, JC’s the Vice Chairman of the Fund and the first patient to ever join their Board of Trustees. 

Many of JC’s fellow board members will be ringside for his fight, and knowing that he’s fighting to help other patients has only intensified his fight training. “When I hear about someone having to deal with cancer, I get so mad. It offends me that people and their families have to go through that.” JC’s making productive use of his outrage: He’s in great shape for his fight (down over 30 pounds since he started training), and will be donating his funds raised Haymakers for Hope funds to the organization (over $43,000 the week before fight night!).

“That pressure of the fight has been really important in my training,” JC says. “It honors the challenge of people who are fighting cancer. You’re choosing to undertake something hard and scary and requires commitment way past your comfort  zone.”

To join JC’s fight to KO cancer and support the work at The Valerie Fund, visit his fundraising page.