Wednesday 2 November 2016

My Auntie Heather

My Uncle George stopped me at the funeral home, rolled up his sleeve and showed me that he had his Fight to End Cancer bracelet on that I sent to him last year post fight. He told me he hasn't taken it off since and to 'keep fighting'.

He wasn't talking about just boxing, he was talking about cancer. My family and I travelled to Montreal this past weekend to celebrate my Auntie Heather's life with her kids, grandkids, six siblings (my mum's side), close friends and family. It was a beautiful celebration.

My Auntie Heather had cancer for 11 years and as her son put it, "it didn't define her." She was so much more than that and though she did fight with cancer every single day - it didn't take away from her role as a mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and friend. She was Heather.  And that was enough.

The last time I saw my Auntie Heather was when we went to visit in June after my fight. I had a plaque for her and I wanted her to know that I had fought for her. I will never forget the memory of sitting beside her at Dunn's waiting for our smoked meat sandwiches, seeing her reaction to photos of my bloody nose from the event and then seeing her read the plaque through tears welling up in her eyes. My eyes weren't dry either.

My Auntie Heather fought cancer, yes. But though she is no longer with us, she definitely did not lose that fight. We say defeat is not an option because it's the truth. My Auntie Heather and anyone that has had to fight, is fighting or will fight are the reason that we are still fighting. If anything, it makes us all fight that much harder.

Auntie Heather, your honesty, sarcastic humour and love for your family will be missed. I love you and I promise I won't stop fighting as long as you are in my corner.

Rest peacefully, Auntie Heather <3

Thursday 25 February 2016


Dear Fighters,

It has been nine months since I stepped into the ring on the most terrifyingly, electric night of my life and not a day goes by that I don’t think about what I did.

Not only do I get to walk into work every day and see a large mural of myself with blood dripping down my face on the wall, but it doesn’t stop there. I have SO many beautiful memories. I have the memory of 10 scared and brave individuals, starting a journey and not knowing where exactly it would take us. These 10 individuals, plus numerous other people that helped us get to where we ended up have become a huge part of my life… an entirely new family. They helped me and continue to help me grow and teach me things, both physically and mentally. They pushed me to work harder every time I trained and I also had to find it within, to push myself to the limit for eight months. I was at Kingsway more in those eight long months than I was at home and I don’t regret a single second. You HAVE to put in the work. I say long because it does seem like a long time, but trust me when I say- IT GOES BY SO FAST.

My advice to you would be to please take it all in, get to the gym and train your butt off (you’ll be both sad and slightly relieved when you’re done and not training for anything later) and get on your social media and raise some MONEY! Set a goal for yourself, a goal that scares you and REACH IT. I promise you can do it. Send out a link of your fundraising page to every one you know and make the 'ask' personal. There is a much larger chance someone will donate to you if you’re asking them personally and directly. All anyone can say is no! Oh well, you tried! It’s definitely an intimidating task and even working in the nonprofit, fundraising world,  it scared me. But really, what do you have to lose? I posted so much about #FTEC on social media that I am sure I lost a few cyber friends or followers, but who needs them? I’d much rather raise money for cancer research, plus the outpouring of support (through donations and well wishes) I received from people I didn’t even know or who I hadn’t spoken to in years evoked an indescribable feeling. *Side note- if you ever need any tips and tricks on fundraising, don’t hesitate to ask!

Choosing to try out and being part of Fight to End Cancer was the best possible decision I have ever made. So many factors in my life led me to Kingsway and into that ring and because of Fight to End Cancer- my life has changed in the most wonderful ways. I am SO grateful for the opportunities it has opened up for me, the people I have met along the way and an added, personal bonus of forming the best relationships with one of my fellow fighters.

With the photoshoot coming up this weekend for this year’s team- I am so jealous and wish I could flash back to that day and every day after it but I can’t. I do however have the memories in my head, heart and of course lots of pictures. I also have the feeling that I did something and was part of something that was so much bigger than I could have ever imagined.

I am so proud to be part of the FTEC family and alumni. It seriously is such an honour and a privilege. Don’t take this lightly. This is one experience I PROMISE you will never forget. Give it your all! Remember who you're fighting for.


Love Paige

Sunday 6 December 2015

The After Math - 6+ Months Post Fight

It's hard to believe that over a year has passed since I made the BEST DECISION of my life so far. Life changing is the only way to describe it.

The high of fight night took a while to escape from me but I am reminded every day, in different ways about what I did and how amazing it was to have been part of something so much bigger than I could have ever imagined.

The nostalgia sets in here and there but the constant joy I feel continues to grow as I reflect on the numerous feelings and accomplishments that went hand in hand with this journey:

1. I was part of an event, raising funds to contribute to breakthrough research and developing medical advances with a hope for a cancer free future. The amazing FTEC team succeeded in bringing in over $165,000- the most raised in the history of this event. I hope next year's team can beat this record! Many of you reading this, helped in this mission. I am confident we have contributed toward the vision to conquer cancer in our, our children's or our grandchildren's lifetime.

2. I learned that I have a new passion. Boxing. Growing up as a competitive soccer player, I didn't have time to try new things. Throwing myself into a completely new sport was both terrifying and exciting. I had to embrace the unknown, frustrations and mental breakdowns that came along with boxing and ride the intense highs of having these techniques and skills finally click, being taught a new combination and feeling like the biggest badass (excuse my french), and stepping into the ring, surrounded by everyone I love and showing them that I do know how to box (or at least know how to take really hard punches to the face and never back down while continuing to throw them back).

3. I can't even count how many new friends I have made through this, all of whom I have known for a year or less but who accept me for exactly who I am. Never have I once felt like I wasn't being completely authentic when I stepped foot in the gym, or been around this new growing family.

4. Knowing what I can achieve if I dedicate and put my mind to something is one thing I have never experienced before this. I truly believe that I can do anything I want in life and YOU CAN TOO!

5. I never would have guessed that signing up to fight, also meant that I was signing up to meet my future boyfriend and one of the best guys ever. I am so grateful that Robert came walking into Kingsway Boxing and into my life. I will admit that my first impression of him and his of me were obviously very off. He has proven to me that laughter truly is the best medicine and I will never be short of that with Robert in my life. (Shout out to Virgil for scouting him to fight Mark!)

As an FTEC alumni, I am in a new position now as I watch the 2016 fight team prepare for their boxing debuts in June 2016. I'm jealous but also happy to have already gone through the crazy emotions that, whether they realize it or not, they are about to face. I hope this experience will prove to be as life changing for them as it has been for me.

I will be there every step of the way.

xo Paige

Monday 1 June 2015

FIGHT NIGHT- Through my eyes!

What a night! I can't believe that I just took part in something so much bigger than I could have ever imagined. My journey in this new adventure started exactly a year ago when I attended, as a guest, Fight to End Cancer 2014. I knew nothing about the fighters or coaches, but I was getting into these fights like some of these people were my personal friends. I was hooked. I needed to be part of this. Fast forward one year and HERE I AM. This might sound crazy, but I didn't even know what I was REALLY getting myself into until my 3 rounds were complete on Saturday night. Those were 3 rounds of HELL and I felt like my legs weren't moving, my arms weren't properly swinging and my brain certainly was not working....

The final month leading up to May 30th was filled with BOXING. I didn't do anything else with my time (besides work of course). I went for runs and I went to the gym and repeated that every single day for over 30 days. I was doing this and I could not let a single day go by, knowing that I could have done something more. My competitiveness went crazy and I was obsessed. I had to force myself to take days off to rest my body and on those days I felt intense guilt.  Everyone talks about how hard all of us fighters work to prepare for our boxing debut on event night and when I hear this, I think to myself that none of this felt like hard work to me. Yes, I put in the time and left the gym, sometimes in tears, sore and sweaty but I was having the best time doing it. I got to see people every day that I have grown to love and respect over such a short period of time.

My nerves started to set in about a week prior to the event...I was starting to lose sleep and this was worrisome and annoying to me. Training had to start getting lighter and when my coaches told me to slow down, all I wanted to do was go faster.
Thursday night was the last night in the gym. I felt great. I did some light shadow boxing, went for a run and hit the bag. I was ready. I truly felt like I had done all that I could have done leading up to this fight of a lifetime.

Friday and Saturday were weird days- my nerves turned into excitement and I couldn't wait to get going. After work on Friday, it was essential that we keep ourselves busy. Robert and I went to see a movie and it was the worst movie ever but at least we weren't thinking about boxing! I slept like a baby that night and woke up Saturday morning ready to go. I needed to get out of my condo in the morning to avoid thinking, so I met up with Robert again to grab a coffee and walk around the city. Robert and I have shared so much of this entire experience together that it only seemed fitting to hang out with him the morning of the event. It was also nice to be with someone who was feeling the same way I was that day. Any moment of silence was easily chalked up to both of us thinking about that night. I then met up with Kelly to get our nails done! The woman at the salon asked if we were going to a wedding, to which I responded, 'no I'm in a boxing match tonight!'. She didn't understand.

Arriving home that afternoon after my morning festivities is when it all hit me. I was NERVOUS. I took these nerves as a reminder to be present in this moment and to reflect on what I was doing this for. I laid silently on my bed and actually spoke out loud about why I was doing this and who I was fighting for. This lasted a good 20 minutes. I was back to feeling at ease.

Then, there I was at the Old Mill sitting in front of the ring that I would be stepping into hours from then. It was smaller and the ground was softer and spongier than the one at Kingsway, I got stressed and overwhelmed about my walkout and told Virgil I wasn't doing it and found myself in tears. Two minutes later I said "Fine! I'll do it!" without anyone even trying to convince me. I was being a crazy person. The amount of emotions I had already experienced on this day was nothing compared to what was about to come pre, during and post fight.

The fights were underway and even though I said to myself that I was for sure going to watch Robert and Mark fight the first bout, I quickly decided against it once the nerves really started to set in. Waiting in the back room with the other fighters as we all warmed up and got in our zones was such a cool but weird experience all at the same time. I knew the fights started at 8pm and mine wasn't until 10pm so I actually brought a book to read in between. It's comical to think that I thought I would be relaxed enough to chill out and read while so much was happening around me... instead the time ZOOMED by and as Phil and the coaches came in every 15 minutes or so and grabbed each bout in order one after another, I was panicked. How is this coming so fast?!

All of a sudden I was standing outside the main door about to make my entrance. At this point, I had done all that I could have done. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for that I had trained for, for over 7 months. I was warmed up and I said to Virgil "there is no way I am losing this fight."
There was only one thing left to do in my mind as we waited for the live auction to wrap up... sing and dance, of course. I love Virgil and TJ so much! They didn't even hesitate and got their singing and dancing on! The three of us stood there, huddled around an iPhone, singing and dancing to 'Cheerleader' by Omi. That was one of my favourite memories of the night. I was in my own world. Then I hear my name and the doors opened with the cameras right on me. "Oh shit" is all that went through my head. I couldn't hear a single thing for my entire walkout, I'm surprised I was even somewhat on beat to the song. It was such a blur!
I got in the ring and waited for Erica to do her walkout. I took note of my family and supporter tables who were on their feet cheering me on. Here goes nothing....

After we were given the rules, we tapped gloves and were sent back to our corners. The bell rang.... "Holy shit!" I feel anxiety even recounting this right now. At this point, there was no turning back and punches were being thrown- by both of us and they were really hard. I got panicked and in my head there was a lot of swearing going on. Erica came out in full swing- those punches were coming at me and a lot were landing. I felt panic and then I was calm. I heard Virgil and TJ yelling "Box! Box, Paige! Box!" and I was telling them to shut up under my breath and in my head (hehe sorry) because I KNOW THAT'S WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO BUT I COULDN'T THINK! Somehow I got through the round. I was SO tired. How was that only one round?
Virgil gave me the typical "Virgil pep talk" and I was recharged. Round 2 baby.

I couldn't tell you what happened but all I remember is seeing blood flying in front of my face and having it all over my glove. I had no idea if Erica or I was bleeding. It was me.
Uh-oh. The ref got me to my corner to get cleaned up and before I turned around- I seriously felt a surge of energy pump through my body at that exact moment. I glared at Erica, sucked blood back in my nose to taste it in my mouth (ew) and landed some hard punches on Erica's face. I felt like an animal attacking my prey. It was creepy actually now that I think about it. But Erica was NOT letting up. Round 2 ended with a quick 8 count for Erica and secretly I was hoping she'd quit because I felt like I was going to collapse. But no, nope. No quitting there.

Virgil told me how well I did in the last 2 rounds and that this was it. He told me to not do anything stupid to F this up. I listened and took more of a defensive approach in the 3rd round. I tried to slow things down because I was really tired and wanted to showcase more of my boxing but Erica was still pressing pretty hard. We were not slowing down, at all. I wish there was a count of punches thrown and landed in our fight because I honestly felt like it was so back and forth. There was 10 seconds left and I gave it all I had. The final bell rang. I wanted to collapse to the ground but I made it back to Virgil.

I won my fight that night but it was a hard, competitive and passionate fight. Erica and I have both worked so hard training for this night and through blood, sweat and tears- we put on a SHOW! I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity to begin with and to have fought such a worthy opponent.

Paul Alofs (President and CEO of The Princess Margaret) said to me that when I got punched in the face and my nose started bleeding, it was the perfect analogy of that moment when someone is told they have cancer. You can either take this news and hide or you can make cancer pay and really fight. I didn't back away. None of us did. All 10 fighters did just that. We were fighting for those who could not. We were fighting for hope and we were fighting to make a difference.

Paul Alofs was one of the first people to give me a big hug in his suit (even though my face was covered in blood) as I stepped out of the ring. I then felt like a real celebrity as my AMAZING cheering section came swarming over to me. My parents looked so proud and there were so many tears of happiness! It was a moment I will never forget.

I am so blessed and grateful to have experienced everything this experience had to offer. I went through every emotion possible and came out of this as a different person.
I have made so many long lasting relationships that I will cherish FOREVER and I am still floating around on a cloud that I hope lasts for a very long time. I am in love with my coaches, my fight team, my Kingsway family, my real family, my friends and complete strangers that came out on Saturday night. We were all there for one reason. We were there for the Fight to End Cancer and there is no way we are losing that fight.

Monday 4 May 2015

"Are you nervous?"- Week 23/24

Are you nervous?—This seems to be the question that I’ve been asked over and over again the past couple of weeks… and the truth is, I have no idea!

I have never experienced so many feelings all at once that I can’t tell if my nerves have surfaced yet. I also feel like I have been living and breathing boxing that I rarely even have a moment to think.

I will admit that having our first meeting with Jen and Virgil this past weekend outlining exactly how the evening of the fight will play out, I did find myself more fidgety than usual. It’s weird to me that in less than a month, my loved ones and complete strangers will be watching me do something that I have been training for 7 months to do. That thought crossing my mind was a first… I know that this is a show, but I’ve been so caught up with learning the sport, that I forgot about the actual entertainment part.

Jen and Virgil tried to explain exactly how we would be feeling that night, how we will need to be in our own headspace and zone… whatever we need to do to get there, we need to do it! We need to focus..something that doesn't come super easy to me at all. In fact, maybe this is what I need to be FOCUSING on.

I’m going to stop myself there. I totally have more to write but I’m going to refrain from sharing too much as I need to keep my thoughts to myself at this point. I need to keep my cards close and have my every feeling, felt only by me.

With that in mind, I won't be blogging again until after the fight!

So, I'll leave you with this. Am I nervous? Perhaps. A little. But, my confidence is definitely outweighing my nerves at this point.

Sunday 19 April 2015

"I am healthy and strong and beautiful and so are you"- Week 22

It's taken a lot of time and obsessing for me to really accept the way I look. Body image has always been something that consumed my thoughts even from a very young age. I have always enjoyed life, and food has been a big part of that. I love eating... who doesn't? But, growing up, I remember wondering why I looked the way I did and others (girls specifically) looked so different.

I've always been athletic and I started playing soccer early in life. The muscles in my thighs developed very quickly and I found myself becoming more and more self conscious of them. I have always had to get a bigger pant size in my waist, simply to accommodate my legs. I would then obsess over the actual size on the label and turned jean shopping into a nightmare experience (sorry, Mum).

As I got older and understood what dieting really was, I tried them all. I dieted to change my appearance, I dieted to get "healthy" and I dieted to ensure I was the best athlete I could be. I put "healthy" in quotations because at the time, even up until a few years ago- I really didn't know what "healthy" was.

I used to associate "health" with the number on the scale. "How do I weigh this much? I must not be healthy."....NO, NO, NO.
I finally realized that WEIGHT IS JUST A NUMBER and labels on clothes are ALSO JUST NUMBERS. They mean absolutely nothing....

Exception: If you are fighting in a boxing match and your weight needs to be within 10 pounds of your opponent's, the number kind of matters. I didn't know that this was as strict a rule as it really is... if we don't meet this requirement, it's simple- we don't fight.

Most members of the fight team have lost weight from their initial weigh-in 6 months ago but I have gained weight. Our weight is too close for comfort and it's my job to lose a few pounds to ensure we're as equal as possible. I'm not going to lie, the thought of this really scared me at first. I hate the emphasis of the number on the scale in this situation because even though I have gained weight, I have never felt stronger or healthier in my life.  It is definitely not easy to limit what I am eating, especially with the amount I am training. I constantly require fuel, but with the right foods, I find I am completely satisfied! The more I workout, the more I also fear that I might be gaining more muscle and upping my weight on the scale but I can't focus too much on that. I am eating as healthy as possible and doing all that I can do.

I love the way my body looks right now and despite growing up thinking my legs were ugly and big, I fully embrace them and have never been more proud to have a "voluptuous" lower half! My legs are STRONG and they're providing me with balance and stability and I should also thank them for getting me where I need to be, every second of my life.

My body is exactly the way it is because that is how I was created. I no longer want to change a single thing about myself! I don't know if it's age or boxing that brought me to this epiphany but whatever it was, I wish I had this knowledge and love for myself as far back as I can remember.

I am healthy and strong and beautiful and SO ARE YOU. Believe that. Confidence is the prettiest accessory you can wear.

Sunday 12 April 2015

What.The.F*$%.- Week 21


I knew this day was coming... I had been warned about it by some of the past FTEC fighters... the day that we would get in the ring against Virgil. I never really thought anything of it and with my confidence building each day, I thought it couldn't be THAT bad.


'Shocking' is the best way I could describe what went down yesterday. How could Virgil, this beautiful, amazing, NICE man who I thought was my FRIEND turn into this evil villain and punch me THAT hard SO many times in the face? SHOCK. How rude.

I had to wait my turn as I watched him basically beat up everyone that went before me.  I took a few deeps breaths, gave myself an actual pep talk in the mirror and reluctantly stepped into the ring. I was asking Sasa (my corner coach for this fight) so many questions just to delay this from actually happening. I honestly can't even explain to you how it all went down because I forgot every single thing I've ever been taught thus far in boxing. The first two minutes surprisingly went by fairly quickly and I was sitting in my corner, with Sasa in front of me giving me water as my tears came FLOWING down my cheeks. He asked if I wanted to stop and I asked him to wipe my tears off my face. I was ready for round two. The next two rounds went by slower than the first one but I felt like I stood my ground a little better than I did initially. I was focused and out of the 'survival mode' I fell into right off the bat.

Finally, I was done and still standing- until I raced to the bathroom and fell to the floor in full on hysterics. Come on, of course I cried. I have NEVER felt anything like this before. Physically, I was fine, I was just emotionally drained from six long minutes. So many different thoughts were entering and exiting my brain. I didn't even know what to think.

What I do know is I am SO thankful that so many of my 'crazy' Kingsway Boxing family have and just did go through the exact same experience I did. I wasn't alone. I mean, maybe some of the guys didn't outwardly show their feelings like I did, but I could sense their tears building up...just wanting to be set free. I had the best talks with some amazing people who finally calmed me down after this insane experience. Thank you guys, you know who you are. :)

Now, sitting here feeling like an actual truck ran over me, I have a whole new set of emotions. I am BEYOND proud of myself. I made it through three full rounds with a MAN who is big, strong and an experienced and amazing boxer who also knows exactly how I fight. OF COURSE he was going to beat me up!
My weaknesses became VERY obvious to me and I am already working on them every time I pass a mirror in my condo. I am a boxer and I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I am surprising myself!

I didn't realize coming into this entire experience, how much it was going to change me. I had the opportunity to take this stand and chose to knock cancer out and I'm doing it for those who weren't and won't be given that choice.

Today I am feeling strong, motivated, powerful and amazing.

Side note: Jenn and David came to my work on Thursday to film The Princess Margaret's President & CEO, Paul Alofs and to get some funny little clips of me, hard at work! I can't wait to see how everything comes together!! It was such a fun afternoon!

Have a great week, people and don't forget to take a minute and acknowledge how amazing you are every once in a while!

PS Check out these amazing pics by Nicholas Theodorou taken on Easter Weekend from our video shoot!