It has been a long time since I posted……..I personally have been sitting back absorbing current events in the SMA community and sometimes that leads to stagnation. As a family we continue to move on…..focusing on today…..cherishing the moments…..living in the here and now.
It is extremely difficult being a parent…trying to appropriate time evenly between your children…….especially when one of them may need special attention due to a genetic mutation. Sophia’s little brother Jackson has been nothing outside of incredible in his understanding of the needs of his sister Sophia. I have made a concerted effort as his father to try and balance the time between both of my children.
Since Jackson was three years old I have introduced him to martial arts. It is a way for us to bond…..just father and son…..going to class and having our moments together. We go to Muay Thai 4 days a week and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 4 times a week as well. He is our little “Gym Mouse” and he savors the opportunity when dad can focus solely on his accomplishments and abilities……and to be honest he deserves the attention.
I cannot speak enough about his coaches. They care about their students and have gone above and beyond in their tutelage Jackson.
A few weeks ago one of Jackson’s coaches approached me about a fundraiser for Sophia. I was kind of shocked because it was something he wanted to do on his own……Coach Mike Maher from the UFC Gym Long Island had already started organizing an event for Sophia’s Cure and SMA. I thought it was a great idea and a new opportunity to expand the knowledge of this disease to an entirely new community.
Coach Mike (Purple Belt Mike in Jackson’s Book) really poured his heart and soul into this event. Coach Mike took second in the worlds as a Blue Belt in BJJ and I personally believe he put forth the same effort if not better in this event for SMA. Our family was very touched by Couch Mike Mahers dedication in making a difference for Sophia and SMA.
The entire coaching staff of the UFC GYM Long Island worked extremely hard at this event. I personally want to thank Coach Brandon Adames, Coach Mike Maher, Coach Mike Pepio, Coach Todd Black Dynomite Mueckenheim, Coach Tom-Tom Bastardi, GM of UFC GYM Long Island Jason Figorski, Anthony Risato, AJ Scavelli, Carisa Gaylardo, Amanda Basso, Erik Price, Rod Williams, Louis Palamo, Gabriel Ankil.
From the moment we walked in the event was electrified….the energy was amazing and everyone wanted to meet our Sophia!!!! We could not believe how packed out the Gym was, and we were excited to see that news of the event brought in families, fighters, Gym members and even Pro Kickboxer Wayne Barrett.
The event was catered by Prime, and they did an amazing job, everyone raved about the food!!! Every detail was taken care of expertly and we were so touched by the outpouring of love for our sweet girl.
We were also so surprised by the donation made by the class moms of Mrs Grahams K class at Saw Mill Elementary School!!!!!
Thank you to also Local 638 Steamfitters for coming out to support the event!!!
The fights were such a hit….the energy these fighters put into the day was so inspiring to watch!! At the end of the day we all had the same feeling, UFC Gym LI is not just another Gym…..its a family…..the sense of camaraderie was infectious and we are so thankful for their support and friendship!!!! The event raised over 50k for SMA research and having that number doubled is 100k for regenerative programs!!!!!!!! We are just blown away and so thankful to everyone involved!!! Lastly thank you to Bauzen photgraphy who came out to take pictures of the event…… Enjoy the pics