Photo courtesy of Bobby Deal of Vegas Vision Studios
It is often taken for granted or thought of as a given, the beat of a heart, the rush of a breath, the pulse of a touch. We live our lives as completely as we can and experience all that comes along with what is sometimes a struggle and at other times a gift.
Many live a blessed and rewarding life, they take all they can away from their experiences and build a lifetime of memories. Yet there are those who have to fight for every heart beat, every breath, every touch. Their lives are no less vibrant, often times they are more so than the average life, because they who find life fleeting, cherish every moment. As do those whose lives they touch through their struggle.
It is the inspirational story of a young man by the name of Dylan, a young man in the fight of his life, and his experiences that will move you, and inspire you. This young man is battling brain cancer at the tender young age of twelve.
There are no easy words to describe his fight, but it is encouraging to hear how he is living his life and the efforts of those who have come together to raise this young man up and reflect on his inspirational courage in the face of adversity that he must face head on. Those who know Dylan describe him as "putting up a great fight and having the spirit of a true warrior."
For every struggling warrior, there is another warrior waiting to pick him up if he falls, to protect him if necessary, or even carry him if that is what the battle calls for.
The sport of mixed martial arts brings with it a certain level of doubt, and misunderstanding by those who are less than appreciative of its finer points. Main stream media smears MMA every chance it gets. They will never tell you this story, a story that truly displays what the finest representatives of MMA will do to change this world for the better.
These are not knuckle draggers, these are no crazed maniacs, these are good people, caring people, people that will use their star to do good in this world. There are those who use their position in this business to change lives and in the process change negative perception one situation at a time.
Enter Kevin Hoyt and his team at It Ain't Chemo. Hoyt runs an MMA based clothing brand with the idea that he can use his resources to help those in the fight against a foe he once found a way to conquer. Hoyt is a cancer survivor and knows first hand the struggle of those who struggle with it today. The theory behind IAC is that no matter how bad one might think things are going it is important to remember how much worse it could be.
Hoyt calls his efforts to help those battling cancer a "boots on the ground" effort. Their funding doesn't focus on research more so than it focuses on the individual who needs more immediate relief in so many ways. Anything from warm blankets, to something as simple as a DVD player, really anything that will make these folks more comfortable as they press on in their fight up to and including anti nausea medicines which tend to be very pricey for patients.
With that in mind Hoyt began creating "Fashions Tough Enough To Take On Cancer" and has garnered the support of many prestigious interests in the MMA community. His noble efforts have earned him the support of living legend Randy "The Natural" Couture and his people at Xtreme Couture.
In particular Randy's son Ryan really raised the bar as he and fellow Xtreme Couture team mate Jimmy Jones personally spent time with the young man mentioned before, Dylan. It was the combined efforts of Kevin Hoyt, the Xtreme Couture family, and brothers Barry and Jeff Meyer at Tuff-N-Uff that really laid the foundation for these noble efforts.
Our little warrior Dylan was invited to spend some time down at Xtreme Couture for a gauntlet of very exciting activities for any MMA fan, much less a twelve year old little boy. While at the gym, Ryan Couture and Jimmy Jones showed Dylan some of the various aspects of how to train for an MMA competition.
Dylan was schooled on aspects including the heavy bags, and speed bags. Couture and Jones also showed Dylan a few ground and pound techniques to put in his back pocket. Then Dylan was taken to the Octagon and ring at Xtreme Couture to get his cage legs stretched and in shape. Surely he got the work out of his life training at this world class and championship tested proving ground. One would have to imagine, the little man enjoyed every moment.
So if all that was an ice cold hot fudge sundae for our friend Dylan to enjoy, the cherry on top had yet to come. Mr Jimmy Jones and Mr Ryan Couture both happen to be elite trained and premier up and coming mixed martial artists. Both men cut their teeth under the Tuff-N-Uff banner where Jones is a current title holder and Couture recently spent his final fight as an amateur.
Well with that in mind, imagine the smile on the face of our warrior Dylan when he was told he would be in Couture's corner for a three round match between he and Jones that day at Xtreme Couture. Dylan was to give out instruction and advice while cornering his heroes, Couture in particular. When it was all over little man was asked to choose who had won the match and after a hard fought battle for his new corner man Dylan, Couture found his hand raised.
Couture and Jones also gave our young warrior a pair of gloves and rumor has it they haven't been out of his sight since.
While this activity of course eventually had to come to a close for all those involved, the train ride had not yet come to a complete stop for young Dylan. He was invited by the Meyer brothers mentioned earlier to attend Couture's final fight as an amateur which was a very special event.
Dylan was also invited back to Tuff-N-Uff and asked to walk out with Mr. Jimmy Jones for his most recent title fight. For those that don't know this is an electrifying experience for someone watching, it is hard to imagine how alive Dylan must have felt making that walk under lasers, fog, and music as they approached the ring. Jones is signing the gloves he wore in his victory and giving them to Dylan this very week.
What an amazing experience for this young man who once again is in the fight of his life. Dylan can't tap, his corner can't throw in the towel, he can't walk away from this fight, he has to face it and fight it and live his life to the fullest that he can. His heart and his will exemplify what it really means to fight, in the purest essence of the word.
Seeing him with his arms raised tells us he is strong in that fight and still willing and able to march forward with sun on his face and the wind at his back. This kiddo has definitely found a boost in the efforts of those who put this all together though. He's been to lair of a legend and then found himself standing next to Randy Couture before sitting ring side for Jones' championship fight.
It is obvious by the look on his face in pictures of him doing these things that life couldn't be better right now.
That has a lot to do with the selfless and noble efforts of people like Kevin Hoyt of IAC, the Couture family, Jimmy Jones, Barry and Jeff Meyer at TNU, but most of all it has to do with Dylan. This is a young man with the fire of life burning brightly in his eyes, and the fight of a Spartan deep in his heart, and the support of a legion of warriors willing to stand behind him and do anything to help him press on.
To support their efforts or learn more about It Ain't Chemo visit their website