Sometimes in life you need to make your own Fight Laws. That is A. OK with us. Kerri is a true fighter in every sense of the Word. She was kind enough to share her story below with our community. Thanks Kerri for being an EVERYDAY FIGHTER and allowing us to share in your triumphs, setbacks, victories and most importantly your FIGHT. We Believe EVERYBODYFIGHTS and with people like KERRI in our Crew we will never need to FIGHT Alone.
WHY I FIGHT
By Kerri Tabasky
Seven years ago my life seemed pretty typical. I had two beautiful, healthy daughters, an amazing, supportive husband, and a home in the town in which I grew up. I was pregnant with our third child, another daughter. When Anna was born, our life took a turn in a direction that we weren’t prepared for. Shortly after her birth, Anna was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. In that moment, our world came crashing down. The doctor treated Anna’s diagnosis as though it were a horrible tragedy. Our shock and sadness was a direct reflection on the doctor’s reaction. We didn’t know any better. Jon and I didn’t have any exposure to anyone with Down syndrome. We only saw it as a disability, and had no idea what she could be truly capable of. Even my own OB (who didn’t deliver Anna) said to me the next day “Just look at it this way. She’ll always be happy, she’ll always be smiling, and she’ll never let you down.” Great. Was she going to have a personality? Original thoughts? Feelings? Likes and dislikes?
After bonding with Anna for a few hours that first night, Jon and I pulled ourselves together, and agreed that regardless of her diagnosis, Anna deserved to be loved by us and given the best life possible. But we figured that our doctors’ reactions were a representation of public perception of individuals with Down syndrome. We had a long road ahead with Anna. We knew that for her to have a life where she is included and accepted, we were going to have to fight for it.
We soon joined a fitness club where I started working out – hard. I wanted to feel good, and feel strong enough mentally and physically to protect Anna. I wanted to channel my strength to her. I wanted to fight for her if she wasn’t strong enough to fight for herself.
WHYIFIGHT Kerri – At that point I started boxing. I was 38 years old, and this was something very new for me. As soon as I hit the mitts for the first time, I was hooked. Literally. The boxing workout was a stress relief, an escape, and a total adrenaline rush. My body transformed, and I was feeling healthy, strong, and ready to conquer.
Meanwhile, Anna continued to defy expectations. Because of her low muscle tone, she didn’t walk until she was 2 ½. As soon as she did, she started running. Fast. She is a beautiful, independent, strong-willed, funny, caring, loving girl who happens to have Down syndrome. She has taught our family a great deal. We have learned so much about patience, empathy, acceptance, and perspective. Contrary to our doctor’s early words to us, she is not always happy, and she’s certainly not always smiling. Regardless, she has made our lives richer than we ever thought possible.
Over the years my husband and I have fought many battles for Anna. We have fought to change public perception about what it really means to have Down syndrome. We’ve fought for her education. When she was five, and ready for kindergarten, we had to fight for her to be fully included in her kindergarten class. She’s now halfway through first grade, and thriving.
Walking into the Club for the first time last summer, I was like a kid in a candy store. When I learned about George’s philosophy of “Everybody Fights”, I knew I wanted to be part of it. What boxing has done for me as a sport and exercise has had a direct reflection on my fight for Anna.
At almost 43 years old, I know I will always have to fight for Anna. I fight to prove that she is more capable than incapable, that she is more abled than disabled. She deserves to be valued, included and accepted, wherever life takes her. As Anna becomes strong enough to fight her battles with us, all I can say to the world is, watch out. She will win.
Kerri’s Fight Laws
- Fight for yourself, your family, your friends, and anyone who isn’t able to fight for themselves.
If you’re strong enough physically and mentally, use what you have to fight for what you need in life. Use your strength to fight for your family, your kids, friends, and for anyone who may not be able to fight for themselves.
- Fight for, and teach acceptance.
Don’t assume everyone knows what you know. Educate. Teach kids, family, friends, (and anyone else who will listen) what acceptance really means.
- “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
If there’s an aspect in your life that’s not making you happy, fight to change it. If you want to make a difference, do it yourself. Pave the way. Get others to make a difference too.
- It’s not “who you know”, it’s who knows you.
Make your mark. Good fighters make themselves known.
- Turn the impossible into the possible.
Don’t wait for things to happen for you. Make them happen. Don’t hide in the corner if you really want something. If you don’t go after something, you don’t get it.