Out Living It Day | Saturday, July 27

Save the date and help us celebrate Out Living It Day on Saturday, July 27! Join a community adventure in your hometown and consider making a small donation to help us raise $25k to fuel adventure for others.



Fundraising and Fighting for First Descents

By: Anna Kenyon & John Ehlinger

For the first year, Haymakers 4 Hope is coming to Denver to host an epic night of knocking out cancer.  Join us on Thursday, June 14 as FD friend and fundraiser John Ehlinger takes on Danny Maggard at the Fillmore Auditorium in an epic boxing battle benefitting First Descents.  John has always embraced the #OutLivingIt lifestyle, but he only recently got involved with FD’s Out Living It Project. Two weeks out from H4H, we caught up with him to see how training and fundraising have been going for his very first Out Living It Project.

What’d we learn?  It turns out that John had absolutely no prior experience with boxing before this year.  Although he admits that learning an entirely new sport in four months has been challenging–and certainly not for the faint of heart–he believes that “participating in something active that has defined purpose and group of other individuals dedicated to the same cause” is a profoundly meaningful experience.  It was this greater meaning that made him was eager to stand up on the mat for FD’s cause: for young adults just like him who have had to face their own challenges of life-altering disease and disruption.

It truly was giving back to his own young adult age demographic that first made John so passionate about First Descents.  He described that FD was his charity of choice because “it is specifically focused on individuals fighting cancer that are in the exact same position I would be if I had the misfortune of having cancer. I really connect with FD’s mission to fill a much needed gap in programming and support groups for individuals with cancer in the young adult age range. I was also impressed by FD’s focus on addressing the side effects that can come with being diagnosed with cancer like self-esteem and depression.”

So far, John is training like a champ.  With a full heart and a full-on workout regimen, he is intent on staying focused and motivated.  But just like any member of the FD Tribe, John knows that even the most serious battles can be met with a bit of humor, too.  When we asked him how he motivates to get up off the mat time and time again, hard hit after hard hit, he said wryly, “I’m motivated to get up off the mat as fast as possible in hopes that no one actually saw me hit the mat.”  And when we asked him what he was most nervous for and most excited for in his upcoming face-off he retorted, “Same answer to both questions…that it will be on the internet forever.” Touché John, touché.

In the end, we are so excited about John’s journey because of what it represents.  John’s bold approach to supporting FD epitomizes what the Out Living It Project is all about: beginning a new personal journey that will change your own life and the lives of young adults facing cancer.  Whether the bravery is in fighting your fear of fundraising, or sharing your story, or of trying a new and intimidating sport like boxing, #OutLivingIt is about being moved to do something outside of your comfort zone on behalf of a greater cause.

If you’d like to support John’s fight, check out his H4H Profile here, and be sure to head to the Fillmore Auditorium on June 14th to watch him knock out cancer.  Meanwhile, keep Out Living It!

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