Today, a certain group will be walking around, doing their day to day thing, with a far-away look in their eye. They are distracted, their minds are drifting, away from the speaker at the meeting at the workplace, they clearly have bigger things on their mind than the goings on at the 9 to 5. They are counting down, you see, to fight night, to when they will be gloved up, walking toward the ring in Manhattan, and thrown into a zone of uncertainty and apprehension…they are hurtling toward the zone of the unknown, and the butterflies will be doing a frenzied dance in their gut.
And they are, every one of them, to be admired and applauded, for stepping to the line, for a great cause.
Tonight, Thursday night, Gleason’s plays host to the Fighters4Life fundraiser, the tenth annual, and an evening of scraps will unfold at the Broad Street Ballroom.
Here is the description on the Gleason’s website which helps explain the mission of this charitable endeavor:
Boxing brings health and challenge to your life. As Lovers of the sport and the boxing lifestlye, Fighters4Life is way for us to share the experience of boxing in a main event while raising money for amazing charities.
We are a group of former boxers, trainers, accountants and motivational speakers that work to bring the best out in you. At first our Charity Boxing events where held to support Gleason's Give a Kid A Dream's Inner City Youth Program for At Risk Kids WWW.GAKAD.COM.
Participant demand for shows increased making it apparent that we could do so much more. Today Fighters4Life supports: • Cancer Charities – Primarily Improving Quality of Life for Cancer Patients • Parkinson’s Charities – Improving Mobility of Parkinson’s Patients Through Boxing Training • Veteran Support Charities – Wounded Warriors, Semper Fi Fund,Gary Sinise Foundation,Hope For Warriors • Dog Rescue and Adoption Charities • Other At Risk Youth Programs as well.
Bruce Silverglade formed the Give A Kid A Dream charity and year in, year out, his effort allows some kids who are, frankly, headed down a dark path, the opportunity to re-boot, to put their energies into something positive. Yeah, boxing, weird right? Get hit in the head and see the light!? But the boxing life gives many kids a reason to hope, to live, helps them find structure and discipline and role models and a pathway out of the darkness. Silverglade told me a few days ago that he started GAKAD 27 years ago. “We’ve helped many many kids and I’m very, very proud. This year, we are so happy, three of the kids got into college! They get into a program with a little bit of discipline and their best points come out. It’s a working program and we need a little assistance to keep it going! Come down and join us!” (At this point Silverglade told me how he got married at a fraternity party, in Gettysburg, PA, in 1966, but I am asking him to save the re-telling of the story for the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast.)
One of the battlers fighting tonight to raise funds for the charity is 23 year old Sarah Braginsky, born and raised in Queens. The 23 year old, who works for the Department of Sanitation, got into boxing because her dad, Philip Braginsky, was into it. “He would take me once in awhile to the gym and after graduating from college I joined Gleason’s to go with him,” Braginsky told me..
…while her trainer, Heather “The Heat” Hardy (above, right, with the glasses), put her through some paces, two weeks before fight night.
Sarah was working out, learning the sport and Hardy, she said, told her that she thought she should enter the charity event. “She said now was the perfect time and that she knew I loved the sport and nothing compares to your first fight. I said yes immediately…and then kind of freaked out. Like, what the fuck am I doing!? But the more we worked at it the more that feeling went away!”
Braginsky’s first day of training for the fight was Feb. 25. Fast forward to today; I checked in with her at lunch time. How was she feeling? “I feel surprisingly calm,” she told me. “Much more calm than I thought I would! I’m sure the nerves will settle in soon!”
Here are details on the event, including pricing. I tip my cap to all the courageous souls who are doing this good deed, exiting their comfort zone to raise funds to help a great program which helps those in danger of becoming another sad statistic.