Today, September 12th is my birthday. I wanted to share my story about my life for the last twenty years, and why today is a MAJOR Milestone of a BIRTHDAY.
I walk into a room with confidence, power, knowing and believing that I can succeed at anything I put my mind to.
However, 20 yrs AGO I DEFINITELY did not feel that way. At the age of 22 my issues with depression, lack of self worth, and insecurities that had me constantly doubting myself, had me dealing with on an off suicidal ideation. This landed me in a relationship that left me pregnant and dealing with an emotionally and borderline physically abusive partner.
In fact on this exact day in 2002. I sat in a courthouse in Barrie Ontario. I was alone, 4 months pregnant, scared, and FEELING EXTREMELY Vulnerable. On that day, I ended up filing that restraining order against my son’s father, as the harassment was not letting up. I made that definite decision that I would raise my son ON MY OWN. I knew that the relationship was not healthy for myself, but most importantly it WASN’T Healthy for my unborn child.
When I was six months pregnant, when I really began showing and was feeling extremely fearful, and unsure of the future. A silver lining appeared, by the name of Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter. He was at the local college doing a motivational talk. “The Hurricane ” was a professional boxer in the 1950’s. He was in line, for a middle weight world title belt when he was arrested and wrongfully convicted of murder. He ended up spending almost 20 years in jail (a large portion of that time was spent in solitary confinement) for crimes he did not commit. I listened intently to his message. “DARE TO DREAM Folks”. “DARE TO DREAM”. “If I can dream with no hope in sight, so CAN YOU!” That day still feels like it was yesterday. I was sitting near the top of the auditorium, rubbing my belly and being in awe of this man who had so much charisma, pizazz, flair and confidence as he shared his message. At that moment in my life, it gave me so much comfort. If this man could spend almost 20yrs dealing with the circumstances forced upon him, I could do the same. DARE to DREAM he said. DARE TO DREAM. That sparked dreaming in me, I never thought was possible. May he rest in peace, as he passed away in 2014.
At 23 my son was born. A few months after he was born, I immediately handled the legalities of court. During the proceedings, my son’s father did not show up. My lawyer had been in similar circumstances as myself years before. Saw how upset I was. She gave me some of the best advice I have ever had. “Lita, the best thing that you can do with all of this, is succeed”. I took that advice to heart.
At 6months old, my son began getting “funny bruises”. This was so concerning that the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) showed up at my door. Man, I was scared. I had done nothing wrong, but it felt like there was the potential that I could lose my son. Fortunately CAS did not feel that way and soon after, closed the case against me.
When I was 24, we visited Sick Children’s hospital. My son was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Hemophilia B, Factor IX severe deficiency. I was in shock. This diagnosis came out from left field. As hemophilia is typically a genetic disorder based down through the mothers side of the family. No one in our family history had hemophilia. As a single parent, I already emotionally had a hard time keeping my head above water. My son’s rare diagnosis left me even more unsure and frightened of what the future would hold. How was I to help my son through a medical condition that had no cure?!
I began coping in an unhealthy manner and a series of circumstances including an altercation out one night with friends, really spurred me to reflect and think about what the possibility of my choices could do to my son’s life. I then made the choice to cope in a more constructive manner.
I walked into the local kickboxing gym. When the head coach of BEL boxing, Scott Eccles, approached me “I know of your previous kickboxing experience, would you be open to trying competitive Olympic Style Boxing? With Olympic Style boxing, you can have fights and not worry about it being illegal”. You see at the time, Ontario’s combative sports rules were not set up to support their athletes.
With my nature and experience in competitive sports, I jumped at the opportunity that was presented.
At 25 I competed in my first Nationals and won silver. From the age of 25 until 32: I competed in 45 amateur boxing fights; Won two silver medals at Nationals; won the first light middleweight Canadian Golden gloves title; graduated from University with a BsCN in nursing, passed my registered nursing certification, and completed a number of fitness certifications. I was driven to do all of this because I wanted to succeed and be the #1 Role Model for my son!
Some of you may be wondering, but what about my son’s hemophilia?
When I was 31 Another shining opportunity happened. My son was 9. While we were living in Toronto full time. The Sick Children’s Hemophilia team asked if we would be one of five research participants for a Hemophilia Research trial. My son participated in this research study from the age of 9 until 17. This study developed a blood product, called Rebynin that’s helping boys with Hemophilia B live normal lives. Even though the blood product isn’t a cure. The product allows boys with Hemophilia B to participate in any kind of activity they would like, without the risk of internal or external bleeding that causes major health damage. THIS WAS A MAJOR GAME CHANGER FOR US! Along with many other boys living with Hemophilia B in North America. If you ever feel compelled to donate to Sick Children’s Hospital (I do monthly) they are a revolutionary hospital. If it wasn’t for the Sick Children’s Hemophilia team. My son, and myself may never have survived the early years of his Hemophilia.
Throughout this drug trial time. I was still competing and pursuing my athletic goals.
At the age of 32 I competed in my last provincials tournament. I had friends and clients who came to watch me fight. I won the fight by TKO due to a bloody nose injury. A few days later, training my one client who came out to fight, he kept calling me “BAB”, “BAB this, BAB that. Finally I asked, “why the heck do you keep calling me BAB?” He goes, “don’t you know? You are Badass Button”. Ha. Well since that time, that nickname stuck with all my fights and training partners.
When I was 35 I had overcome so many emotional, physical, financial and psychological challenges that I was ready to turn pro.
In August 2014 I watched my dream come true of being the #1 role model to my son. I walked out to my pro debut fight with my son directly by my side. I was modeling to him that when you focus, believe in yourself and work diligently, your Dreams can come true.
I am sharing my story with you, NOT to IMPRESS YOU, but to IMPRESS UPON YOU. That when you have a dream and goal, all kinds of obstacles are going to get in the way. It’s important to understand why. Use that as a compass and guide to fulfill your DREAMS. Stay dedicated. Develop the Discipline. Take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself helps your drive and desire stay fresh. Your determination will then consistently be there and you can have your DREAM come true!
My dreams have since then evolved to be more than just being a competitive boxer. I now run a weekly boxing program for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) called Rock Steady Boxing Toronto East (since Covid we have pivoted to a very successful virtual program). This program gives people a quality of life that some neurologists can barely believe their patients were ever diagnosed with. In addition I’ve led groups of women to do 5 Tough Mudder’s (Tough Mudder is a half marathon obstacle race, over and through mud that simulates the training military personnel go through). I have also coached and run two all women’s boxing fundraising training camps to help raise both funds and awareness for Parkinson’s. In 2017 I was voted fab female entrepreneur of the year in the greater Toronto area for health and wellness.
I’m EXTREMELY passionate about coaching people past their perceived limitations, to achieve what OPTIMAL HEALTH and Fitness Goals looks like for them.
I have now landed to COMBINE ALL MY YEARS of EXPERIENCE, Education and KNOWLEDGE, to Grow Button Adventures. Button Adventures is about the 5 F’s: Fitness, Farming, Family, Food and Fun on the beautiful island of Newfoundland. Don’t worry though, I am still coaching virtually from anywhere there is internet in the world. As Button Adventures vision is to help 1 Million people buy, 2025 to achieve optimal health through the 5 F’s.
However, what has led me here to share my story on my birthday and why it’s such MILESTONE. Because 20 yrs ago EXACTLY. The anticipation of my child inspired and motivated me to become the person I am today.
AND I am SO SO PROUD to say that my 19 YEAR old son is happily and excitedly beginning the new adult chapter of his adult life beginning a skills trade in college. I am so honoured and thankful that I have been gifted to watch as he’s turning into a mature young man!
What now? I am asking for my Birthday, that is my story inspired and motivated you to dream of more for your life. Please like and share this blog, and/or apply for my 12 Week Transformational Coaching Program that is starting up again Monday September 19th. I have 10 SPOTS OPEN.
My Hope is that you too will be able to move beyond your perceived limitations.