Grande Prairie family hits back at childhood cancer with sold-out fundraising fight

The second-annual Fight for Hope boxing championship in Grande Prairie is expected to raise more than $200,000 for sick children.

Second-annual Fight for Hope expected to raise more than $200,000 for sick children

The second Fight for Hope amateur boxing championship, founded by a Grande Prairie father for his sick son, is expected to raise more than $200,000 for Ronald McDonald House and the Kids with Cancer Society. 1:30

Jordan Cartwright says he'll be thinking about his friends in the hospital this weekend when he goes to the second-annual Fight for Hope fundraiser in Grande Prairie.

The amateur boxing championship, which falls on Jordan's ninth birthday, was launched in his honour last year to raise money for sick children and their families.

"There is no loser," he said. "It doesn't really matter who wins."

Jordan was diagnosed with stage 4 leukemia in 2016. Intensive chemotherapy, which will continue until 2020, has put the cancer into remission.

Many of the boys and girls he met during his early treatment are still fighting, Jordan said. Two of his best friends recently lost their battles.

Nearly one in five Canadian children diagnosed with cancer will not survive, according to the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation.

Jordan's father, Scott Cartwright, launched Fight for Hope last year to rally support and gather donations for Ronald McDonald House and the Kids with Cancer Society. 

This year's event, which has sold almost 1,600 tickets, is expected to raise more than $200,000 for the two charities.

"It means more to me than I could ever explain," Cartwright said.

"We could not take on this burden if it wasn't for the love and support of others. Know that if you're too tired, too sore, too weak to fight for your own, that we've got a whole army of people in your corner."

Jordan Cartwright, 8, was diagnosed with stage 4 leukaemia in 2016. (Zoe Todd/CBC)
Scott Cartwright launched Fight For Hope to fundraise for Ronald McDonald House and the Kids with Cancer Society. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

There are 20 boxing matches on the card for Saturday at the Crosslink County Sportsplex.

The Grande Prairie Champion Gym is hosting the event. Owner Raphael Bergmann said he's proud to be part of what he described as the biggest amateur boxing card in the history of the Peace region.

"We're all fighting something, but these children they can't pick their fight, the fight picks them," Bergmann said.

"We're going to show people that boxing is about more than just hitting each other, it's about fighting for the right things."

Fifteen of the fighters signed up for the fundraiser are from Raphael Bergmann's martial arts school, Champion Gym, in Grande Prairie. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Bergmann's gym is training 15 of the competitors, who are between eight and 40 years old.

Each boxer is symbolically paired with at least one sick child, or with the memory of a child who died.

The fighters are asked to raise money in their communities ahead of the championship.

Scott Cartwright was matched with three children, including his son. He will take on local firefighter Kris Ferguson, who stands at least a head taller. 

But Cartwright, who trains at Champion Gym three to four times a week, said he's confident he can win the match for his son.

"I will fight for them until I got no more fight left in me."

Scott Cartwright and his son, Jordan, watch a final training session at Champion Gym in Grande Prairie ahead of the Fight For Hope fundraiser on April 28. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

About the Author

Zoe Todd

Video Journalist

Zoe Todd is a CBC video journalist based in Alberta, filing videos and stories for web, radio and TV.