January 18, 2017
“My favorite picture of myself,” Marblehead Firefighter Matthew Christensen writes on Instagram.
By DAVID WILSON
MARBLEHEAD — Cancer has a new foe.
He’s served in the Army. He’s a Marblehead firefighter. And he’s a father of three.
At 5 feet 10 inches and 160 pounds, Matthew Christensen is just four months away from the Haymakers for Hope charity boxing event at the House of Blues in Boston.
Haymakers for Hope’s mission is to “literally fight” for a cure. According to their website, they have helped raise almost $6 million since 2009. Money raised goes toward cancer research.
“You can’t talk to anyone who hasn’t known someone personally, or an acquaintance, who hasn’t been impacted by cancer,” Christensen said.
Christensen, 33, knows from experience. His mother battled breast cancer twice. She just had her follow-up appointment Wednesday, he said.
His grandmother died from lung cancer. A friend lost his sister to cancer last year.
So Christensen wants to fight. But he needs help getting into the ring on May 18. He needs to raise $5,000 to box. As of Wednesday night, he’s at $1,705.
But Christensen isn’t looking at the $5,000 minimum as a finish line: “I’m shooting to completely smoke that minimum,” he said. He wants to raise as much as he can.
He’s already received 14 donations, most from friends and family. There’s one anonymous donation for $100; Christensen has no idea who it is from. He wishes he could thank them.
But he’s going to fight for them. “I’ve done half-marathons; I run almost every day; I can skip rope for 20 minutes without stopping, but nothing compares to fighting,” Christensen said.
Christensen trains with coach Eric Kane at a facility in Salem. He said Kane tells him, “There is no way to build up your fighting conditioning other than fighting.”
So Christensen is giving it his all. And come his match, in front of thousands, he’s going to win, he said.
“If I lose, it’s not because my opponent out-trained me,” he said.
Visit www.haymakersforhope.org/profiles/matthew-christensen to learn more about Christensen, to donate and to buy tickets (tickets purchased from Christensen’s page go toward his total, he said).
David Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.