Last year (November 2014) was the first time I heard about the Tap Cancer Out organization. Jon Thomas, the founder and a Jiu Jitsu practitioner himself, wanted to bring the Jiu Jitsu community together to help those battling cancer. He organizes tournaments where the competitors can fight for their loved ones and also raise funds to benefit other organizations devoted to help cancer patients. I have been to almost 100 Jiu Jitsu tournaments to date, and Tap Cancer Out is by far my favorite one. It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t have a first-hand experience with cancer. We have lost loved ones or have been alongside those fighting the disease.
Tap Cancer Out is no ordinary tournament. While at other Jiu Jitsu tournaments, competitors are fighting for themselves, Tap Cancer Out competitors are dedicating their fights to their loved ones. “Who are you fighting for?” is usually the first thing that is asked between opponents. Friendships are made, and many bond over the shared experiences of their families and friends dealing with cancer.
I watched in awe at the San Diego BJJ Open this past January as the San Diego Jiu Jitsu community came together for one goal: Help Tap Cancer Out. To be honest I was a bit jealous that I couldn’t compete myself. I was 2 months pregnant at the time and have been off the mats for awhile due to my own medical issues. I vowed that I would compete the next time they came to San Diego, and they are finally returning on January 16, 2016! Thankfully my cousin had just started training and she competed for her first-time at this tournament. I have to admit, I vicariously lived through her that day and sat in her corner as she fought. :]
Even though I’ve only been back to the mats for 2 months now, I will be fighting for 5 of loved ones:
Gramps: currently battling cancer
Malakai Dean (my best friend’s 2-year-old son): cancer free since December 2014
Margaret Regno (my stepmom):
Gregorio Gomez (my grandpa): passed due to Kidney Cancer – 11/28/1918 – 03/18/2004
Raquel Dalida Regno (my grandma): passed due to Breast Cancer 9/27/1919 – 2/12/1973
I’m happy that Tap Cancer Out has also added Kids and Teens Divisions this time around. I’m looking forward to competing alongside my 7-year-old son who will be competing for his Gramps. Both my son and I have a goal to raise $1000 each for the St. Baldricks’s Foundation. We would appreciate any support! If you can, please re-share this post, or donate to our fundraising pages:
Also be sure to save the date: January 16, 2016 to attend the Tap Cancer Out tournament at USD (University of San Diego). Hope to see you there!