Cancer…..a word no one ever wants to hear. My mother, Gerrell Craig, got the news that she had Liposarcoma in early spring 2004. After surgery to remove a tumor the size of a small nerf football, doctors warned us that if it came back, it would come with a vengeance, which it did the following spring. The 230 miles from my home in Murfreesboro, TN. to hers in Stone Mountain, GA suddenly seemed like 2000 miles away.
Doctors went after the cancer aggressively. During a call the morning of her first chemo treatment, I reminded Mom what doctors said about the cancer coming back with a vengeance. I added that she better put on her boxing gloves and get ready to fight! She promised she would. But after that first treatment she wound up in the hospital.
I left work that Friday to be with her. During the long drive, I thought about what I could give her as a reminder, even when I wasn’t there, to keep fighting, every day, every minute! Then I remembered telling her to put on her boxing gloves. At that moment, I decided to give her a pair of boxing gloves. Family and friends could sign them and add encouraging messages as her daily reminder, "Gloves up, ready to fight". When I walked into her hospital room that day with a pair of boxing gloves, her expression was priceless. She was so weak but her smile said it all.
That night she was very restless. She said she couldn’t stop thinking about the gloves. She had decided I should sell boxing gloves for others going through a battle and donate part of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society for research on Liposarcoma. As I would catch my mother reading her messages and see how encouraged she was by them, I understood how important it would be for her to know that one day others facing hard battles would have the same encouragement. We began My Knockout just two weeks later.
My Knockout became an important part of my mother’s life. Having decided to forego chemo treatments to live what time she had with as much quality of life that she could, she focused on our boxing gloves project. The day before I left for that final trip home, the first replica of the gloves arrived, and my mother was so excited to see her project come to life. Through the gloves, she left a legacy that touched and inspired everyone who saw them.
Our hope at My Knockout is for everyone facing a battle to be encouraged not to give up and keep fighting! Flowers wilt and die, cards get thrown in drawers or tossed away, but My Knockout gloves are a lasting reminder to not give up. Our gloves come in pink or red and include an encouragement card, permanent marker, gift bag and tissue paper. To date we’ve sold close to 1000 pairs through many sources. When I read the stories and see the pictures, I know my mother would be happy that her story of courage and a will to fight is helping others.