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Monday, May 18, 2009

Breaking Boards for Charity

From: Postar

HUDSON FALLS -- The sound of snapping boards and spirited yells resounded off the walls of Murray’s Family Martial Arts Center on Sunday, as more than 100 people participated in the center’s charity board break.

The "Kicks for Kindness" event sought to raise money for Desma Degraw, a second-degree black belt who was diagnosed with breast cancer last December.

Participants with a variety of skill levels lined up to kick or punch their way through 2,009 boards in two hours. While some children punched through a thin stick, those with more experience broke through several layers of lumber.

The symbolic act served as a display of perseverance in the face of adversity, a skill set students say was ingrained through their practice of martial arts.

"It just makes you keep going," Degraw said.

For Degraw, the skills learned in her years of Taekwondo practice helped her stay optimistic in spite of what otherwise might be a grim situation. She pointed toward the repeated efforts necessary in perfecting a move or a form with teaching her persistence.

"It keeps you focused," she said. "You don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the what-ifs."

Degraw, who was undergoing chemotherapy treatments to cure her cancer, plans to have a double mastectomy performed this week, which will remove both breasts and a portion of her lymph nodes.

"I’ll be all right," she said. "I’m not too worried about it."

She credited her teacher, Bob Murray, for instilling her with courage and persistence.

"I figure cancer’s no worse than having him back you into a corner and pummel you for a while," she told the crowd.

The event raised about $9,400 for Degraw, who has been unable to work since undergoing treatment. Local businesses donated items to be auctioned off during the event, while Murray’s daughters and a number of others cut hair and sold refreshments outside.

~武德为首, Martial Art Morality comes first

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