Nick Martin always wanted to box. But things kept getting in the way: parents, other sports commitments, life. Then he saw a friend of his don the gloves for the first time, in support of a worthy cause.

Something clicked.

He reached out to his friend, asked some questions, and a few more phone calls followed. One thing led to another, and before long, the same organization that arranged his friend’s fight was talking to him as well.

Soon, Martin will make his boxing debut, fighting as part of Haymakers for Hope.

Haymakers for Hope is a foundation offering amateur boxers – and everyday people – the chance to compete in a sanctioned bout as part of a fundraising event for a number of cancer-related foundations. It stages fights yearly in Denver, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C.

As of Sept. 16, the D.C. event has raised nearly $400,000 across 32 fighters. Martin’s goal is to raise $25,000. Martin has designated Wellness House of Annapolis as his foundation for the bout, which takes place during the Beltway Brawl 3 event on October 13.

Married and recently welcoming his first child into the world, Martin is determined to make a difference where he is able. After learning about Haymakers for Hope from a friend who competed in one of its events in Denver, he began researching possible areas of impact. His boss immediately directed him to Wellness House of Annapolis, and when he was introduced, the fit was immediately clear to him.

“Really the one thing that drew me to you all so much was the close-knit community feel and the family feel of everybody I’ve talked to so far. Because you are so grassroots and it’s not just, you know, it’s not just. ‘Hey, you’re not family so we can’t really treat you.’ You also bring in the close friends and other people that have been emotionally affected by the treatment of whoever it may be, whether it’s just a friend or an uncle, a parent, grandparent,” he said. “That’s why I felt like it was important for me to help out where I can, because that’s the kind of community that I come from.”

Whether learning about Wellness House’s kids camps, the overall community feel, special programs, or counseling services, a holistic approach to the cancer fight from a grassroots level appealed to Martin on almost every level. He understands that the base level support may not be revolutionary in the fight, but it can impact so many people as they endure the battle.

Though Martin’s immediately family hasn’t been directly touched by cancer, the disease began hitting closer and closer to home. His wife’s family has been touched. So has that of his boss, and he said seeing cancer increasingly pop up around him played a major role in taking up the fight.

“In the last two years I’ve had some really close family friends who have dealt with it. Both families, we used to go on vacation (and) we went to church with growing up. So I’ve known them since I was a little kid, and one of their grandfathers got it in this past year and he passed away this year,” Martin said, adding that another friend’s father has also been battling cancer the last several years. “It’s been tough just hearing some of the stories and things that they’re having to go through … the process, the treatment, and then just seeing how it affects the family as a whole.

“That’s part of, again, why I was so drawn to the Wellness House because you all bring it kind of full circle with the kids and the families, and the loved ones and the friends, and giving treatment not just for those that are affected physically, but emotionally as well.”

To read more about Haymakers for Hope, click here.

To support Nick Martin’s fundraising to benefit the Wellness House of Annapolis, click here.