A trainer at New York Sports Club in Morris Park is donating his wages to fight cancer. On Friday, November 6, Demarco Rivera handed $250 to a cancer survivor who plans on giving the money to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Manhattan.
Rivera, a former boxer who teaches boxing at New York Sports Club on Bronxdale Avenue and elsewhere, hatched the plan with Mary Ann Lyman, a breast cancer survivor.
Rivera had his boxing pupils chip in to purchase t-shirts that read, “Team Demarco are winners in joining the fight against breast cancer.” The shirts represent the boxing class’ commitment to fighting all types of cancer. Rivera’s fight against cancer is personal.
“My grandmother had breast cancer and didn’t even know it for a long time,” Rivera said. “She went into the hospital for back problems, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within three weeks. Had they had gotten to the cancer sooner and begun treatment, the outcome would have been totally different.”
Rivera’s donation was his first to a cancer charity. His original intention was simply to help Mary Ann Lyman, the mother of a member of his class and a breast cancer survivor.
“This is a wonderful thing that [Demarco] is doing in memory of his grandmother, who died of breast cancer,” Lyman said. “I received a donation of $250 and am going to pass it on to a St. Jude Children’s Hospital program called Partner In Hope. I have been [to the hospital] and I know what those kids [with cancer] are going through.”
Boxing pupil Chrisy Camillo, who compared the four-week class to boot-camp, said that she and DeMarco’s other pupils were psyched about proceeds from the class going to help people struggling with cancer diagnoses.
“A lot of people could have dropped out of the class but we didn’t want to give up because we knew that we were doing it all for a very good cause,” Camillo said.
Rivera said that giving up wages for the cause was a fitting tribute to his grandmother.
“Giving made all that I feel very real,” Rivera said. “For me, it made a world of difference.”