IT Heavy Hitters charity event attacks mental health despite death of crew member

IT Heavy Hitters boxing event raises funds for Mike King's Key to Life Charitable Trust.


IT Heavy Hitters boxing event raises funds for Mike King’s Key to Life Charitable Trust.

The organizers of a corporate charity boxing event were even more determined to raise awareness about suicide prevention after one of their own was lost to suspected suicide.

The Auckland IT Heavy Hitters show on May 8 was dedicated to event crew member Eric Miller, who died in March.

The Wellington Card, May 1, is dedicated to the former boxing trainer and friend of event founder Mike Dawes, Doug McLay, who died in 2013.

All proceeds go to the Key to Life Charitable Trust, which was founded by 2019 New Zealand and Leading Mental Health Advocate of the Year Mike King.

While Miller’s death had a traumatic impact on those involved, King said it had a galvanizing effect as well as they continued to shed light on such an important issue.

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“Eric’s passing had a huge impact on the organizers in particular, given that he was one of the volunteers who helped. It makes us more determined,” King said. Thing.

“The IT Heavy Hitters set was born out of the loss of a boxing trainer and to keep it going and getting this close, it reminds us all that this thing requires 24 hours a day, 365 days a day. year attention.

The IT Heavy Hitters boxing program aims to promote the link between physical and mental well-being.

PROVIDED / Contents

The IT Heavy Hitters boxing program aims to promote the link between physical and mental well-being.

“And for things to change, we really need to start focusing on changing attitudes and changing society.”

Since 2014, IT Heavy Hitters has raised nearly half a million dollars for Key to Life, including $ 122,000 in 2019 before last year’s event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic .

The program sees 180 company professionals, mostly from the IT industry, undergo an intensive 14-week boxing training camp, 72 of whom were ultimately paired up to participate in one of the two nights of fighting.

After lending a helping hand as a coach in 2019, UFC star Dan Hooker is back to mentor the Auckland contestants. He was joined by teammate Shane Young, who regularly uses his UFC platform to advocate for sanity.

Auckland's contenders are coached by UFC stars Dan Hooker (pictured) and Shane Young.


Auckland’s contenders are coached by UFC stars Dan Hooker (pictured) and Shane Young.

The Capital group is coached by Wellington Boxing Gym and Robbie Martin of Martin Degnan Boxing, with support from Mark Hampton.

King couldn’t underestimate the importance of supporting charitable events like IT Heavy Hitters, and he wasn’t just referring to the funds raised.

For those who participate, embarking on a journey in such a demanding discipline as boxing, combining the link between physical and mental well-being in the process, has often been a transformative experience, King said.

“Every fighter, every family member involved with the Heavy Hitters is a soldier of hope. It’s about facing adversity, it’s about overcoming adversity, it’s about overcoming adversity. fear and also to be able to show that fear.

UFC fighter Shane Young is passionate about mental health.

Brendon Ratnayake / Photosport

UFC fighter Shane Young is passionate about mental health.

“One of the contestants told me when I went to practice the other day, it’s, ‘what’s so good is that I can see the fear in the other’s eyes. nobody, they can see the fear in my eyes and it brings us closer. I’m not afraid to show fear now ”.

“As we live in a society where everyone is supposed to be brave and everyone is supposed to be happy. We should be allowed to take off our masks and show our vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is the key element missing in today’s society.”

Working with the trust, King has worked to bring about positive social change around suicide awareness and mental health in New Zealand.

King said the country as a whole needs to be more proactive in dealing with the problem, adding that encouraging people in crisis to seek help was not enough.

“Eighty percent of people who have suicidal thoughts and are in crisis never seek help because they are worried about what society is going to think, say and do,” King said.

“Why do we keep putting pressure on people who already wear a mask and pretend, and expect them to ask for help? When are we going to start putting pressure on people who are well placed? right now and ask them the question, what are we doing as a society to enable people to reach out and ask or help? ”

IT Heavy Hitters is calling on companies to donate goods they can auction off at shows, with all profits going to The Key to Life Charitable Trust.

Those interested can contact [email protected]

Where to get help

  • 1737, Need to talk? Call or text free to 1737 to speak to a qualified advisor.
  • Anxiety New Zealand 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
  • 0800 111 757 or SMS 4202
  • Children line 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7.
  • Safety rope 0800 543 354
  • Mental Health Foundation 09 623 4812, click here to access its free resource and information service.
  • Rural support trust 0800 787 254
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666
  • Suicidal crisis helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Support families with mental illness 0800 732 825
  • Web chat, email chat or free text 5626
  • What’s new 0800 942 8787 (for 5 to 18 years old). Telephone consultations available Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on weekends from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The online chat is available every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Youth line 0800 376 633, free text 234, email [email protected], or find live chat and other support options here.
  • If it is an emergency, Click here to find the number of your local crisis assessment team.
  • In a life-threatening situation, call 111.

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