A DUNFERMLINE mum who climbed into the ring to trade punches in a charity boxing match is urging Scots to sign up to help fight cancer.
Louise Mackenzie pummelled her opponent in front of a packed house in the Glen Pavilion and then gave her a hug at the finish and claimed a new friend.
Her fighting spirit, which raised £350 for Cancer Research UK, came from the memory of her mum, Sheila Jones, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 49 when Louise was pregnant with her first child.
“The adrenalin was pumping and it felt like going onto a stage,” she said. “I didn’t win the match but it was an incredible thing to experience.
“At the end I gave my opponent a hug. We’d been through the most unforgettable event together so I think I made a new friend too.”
Louise, a mum of two, stepped into the ring during an Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) fundraising event that took place in Dunfermline last month.
It’s growing in popularity and gives ordinary people with no boxing experience the opportunity to train as a fighter for a bout in a safe and enjoyable environment while raising money for charity.
Her mum put up a brave fight but died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. The loss left her daughter determined to do everything she could to help fund research for a cure.
After eight weeks training, beginner boxer Louise squared up to opponent Sandra Turner for the competitive three round bout.
She said being cheered by family and friends as she stepped into the boxing ring was the best experience ever, adding: “I was buzzing for weeks after the match and I hope my mum would be proud of me.”
Louise, who works as a nursing auxiliary in the urology department of Victoria Hospital, added: “I was 21 when I lost my mum to cancer and I miss her every day. My daughter Victoria was born just two months later. She would have been my mum’s first granddaughter and I’m so sad mum didn’t live to see her.
“Cancer casts a shadow on so many family’s lives. That’s why I wanted to do something to help. I’ve taken part in Race for Life 5K events for Cancer Research UK twice in the past but when the opportunity came to learn boxing and beat cancer sooner I jumped at the chance.”
She got in shape by eating healthily and hitting the gym which saw her shed a massive four stones over the past year. Providing their support was husband Scott and children, Victoria, 12, and Alexander, 9.
Anyone feeling inspired by her story can train for the new season of UWCB which begins in Glenrothes this month. After eight weeks training, participants are matched with an opponent to take part in a competitive three round bout at another black tie event at the Glen Pavilion in June.
Robyn Johnson, UWCB marketing manager, said: “UWCB takes place in 107 towns and cities across the UK and we can’t wait to get underway for our next event in Fife, where the appetite for the training and fundraising has been tremendous.”
Emma Hallas, senior account executive for Cancer Research UK said: “The amount of money raised by UWCB participants and their supporters is incredible – around £18,000 a day in March.
“While they’re out fighting in the ring our researchers are fighting cancer in the lab and working to find kinder treatments and a cure for this devastating disease.”