WHYIFIGHT SCOTT AND JEN
When The Club opened its doors about a year and a half ago, in walked Scott Salman, a Boston Firefighter who was looking for a tour. He had heard from a friend about a new boxing gym opening and was excited to see what it was all about.
From the moment he stepped foot in The Club, Scott felt like he was home, and joined on the spot. He and his wife, Jen, immediately became an integral part of The Club’s fabric, and a remarkable addition to the Everybodyfights Community.
As a Boston Firefighter and U.S. Army Veteran, Scott, was a fighter for a living. He had a huge heart and fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. He fought for those in need, and fought to save lives. Little did he know that he would find himself fighting for his own life. In May 2015, Scott was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer that ultimately took his life in 5 short weeks.
Scott reminds us why we FIGHT everyday for a better life, to give love and get love. He made all of us feel lucky to have known him. He never stopped fighting, never bowed his head, and in doing so taught us all what it means to “Win your Fight.”
Thanks, Scott. And thank you, Jen, for sharing your story with us.
This weekend, The Club’s Dave Bergeron will be riding the 2015 Pan Mass Challenge in honor of Scott and his family.
A life-long boxing fan, Scott and his friends took up the sweet science as young kids at the South Boston Boys Club. There they boxed for the fun, camaraderie, and lessons in respect that the sport provided. Throughout Scott’s life, boxing continued to be a great interest, as he boxed for fitness and enjoyed attending local amateur and professional matches.
Up until the last week in April, Scott and I were hopping out of bed at 4:30 AM to get our day rolling in the early morning classes at The Club. After class Scott would jump in the ring for some mitt work before heading off to work. The Club instructors revitalized our outlook, and changed our everyday life. We met wonderful, energetic members who we looked forward to working out with each day. We were fit, strong, and extremely happy!
Then, one day at work, Scott thought he had pulled a muscle under his rib. When the unusually irritating and persistent pain led him to his doctor’s, Scott was sent to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a CAT scan. It was there that our family learned the devastating news that he had cancer throughout his abdomen. How could this be? Scott had been taking challenging BOXFIIT, Body & Bag, and Fighter Cycling classes, while also working a very physical job. Recently, the 59 year-old had even won a Fire Department plank contest, setting a record by holding a plank position for over 5 minutes! “Thank you very much, Club!”, Scott declared, as he stood in victory over his much younger competitors. And yet, all the while, his cancer was growing rapidly? How could this be? The doctors were floored by Scott’s level of fitness while this horrible disease ravaged his body.
I believed that if anyone could beat this, Scott could. He had his knee replaced in 2013 and recovered 100% because of his determination and commitment to the painful physical therapy that would give him back his athletic life. He would do whatever he had to do to overcome this.
As a crucial step in the treatment plan before beginning chemotherapy, Scott had surgery to remove a tumor from his intestine. This was a delicate procedure, with what proved to be an extremely difficult recovery for him. As Scott recouped in the hospital with our children and me at his side, the doctors and nurses were in awe of his FIGHT attitude and unshakeable sense of humor. His never-ending efforts to do everything possible to recover, so he could move on to Dana Farber and begin treatment, had the nurses and staff FIGHTING alongside him. They loved him. Scott consistently forced himself to keep his body in motion by walking throughout the floor, pulling and pushing his IV pole like a body bar at The Club, or doing mini squats in his room with accompanying family and friends laughing at his quips. Scott had created an atmosphere that was contagious. All the while he continued to urge me to return to The Club to keep my body in motion, and replenish myself in the support from the community. And what support we got!
As soon as The Club found out that Scott was sick, they stepped up to the plate. Dave announced that he was riding the PMC in support of Scott’s FIGHT. This news made my husband’s eyes light up as he burst with pride at feeling the love. We took him by wheelchair to the PMC Bridge to Progress at Dana Farber, which brought Dave’s monumental bike-a-thon to life. George, Pat, Edwin, Keryn and many members communicated their concern and sent well wishes. Scott never wavered in his battle. He was so empowered by the love that continually poured in. He made the tough decision to try chemo, because there was no alternative treatment for his case, although the doctors told him it could hasten his death. He bravely stated to them, in no uncertain terms, “I have to try and fight this cancer.” He understood the chemotherapy risks but was determined not to let the cancer overtake him without a fight.
Scott gave it his all, right up to the last moment when he peacefully succumbed, surrounded by the love of his family.
I learned valuable life lessons from Scott and the many people who cared for us both in and outside of the hospital during his illness. His love, humor, and courage will stay in my heart forever, as I now must FIGHT to safely regain my strength and live a productive life that he and I will be proud of.
I cannot thank The Club enough for sharing their love. They have taken extraordinary measures to help make the very difficult step of moving my life forward much easier. The love that I felt when I came back through the door made me realize exactly why Scott felt so ‘at home’ when he first walked through a year and half ago. With love like this, I can’t lose.
WHYIFIGHT SCOTT AND JEN