For those of you that don’t know me. My name is Lita Mae Button. I am a full time boxing, and fitness coach. I currently run a fitness program called Rock Steady Boxing. Helping people with Parkinson’s fight back daily. In addition, I train personal clients.
This is my professional background: A BScN in nursing (4 years in long term care, and geriatric mental health) a number of fitness certifications (Level 1 Ontario Boxing Coaching, Rock Steady Boxing Coaching, Personal Trainer, Exercise therapist, Agatsu Joint, and Mobility, Kettlebell, Olympic Lifting, Nutrition, and a couple others I don’t remember). I have a record of 45 Boxing Fights, 43 Amateur Fights (2 Time National Silver Medalist, 2013 Silver Medalist at Ringside International Tournament, 2013 1st Canadian Light Middleweight Golden Glove Champion), and 2 professional Boxing Fights, 2014 I competed on the first all female professional boxing show in North America). After this, I have gone onto do a couple successful boxing training camps, and fundraising events to help develop women in the Toronto Community, while raising Parkinson’s Awareness.
As you can see from my professional biography, I am passionate about health and wellness through the sport of boxing, and fitness. In my professional life, I strive for ongoing excellence and continuous learning.
My personal life, the last 20 years, however, is what has given me the drive professionally. I gave birth as a single parent to my son in 2003. Then in 2004 he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Hemophilia B. I am not here to give you the details of what has occurred in those years, and before. That is book worthy. I am currently working on it to release over the next 18 months. I am here to give you the details on WHY I AM SO FRACKING GRATEFUL RIGHT NOW!
As you can see my passion is boxing. What that means is that for 18 years, of the last 20yrs that my son has come into the radar of my life, is and has been about living boxing.I was in different boxing gyms; training, coaching, honing my craft personally, and professionally. I lived, breathed, and ate boxing. My social life was about boxing. My friends were about boxing. My events were about boxing. Boxing was my family for years. My mindset, and outlook on anything boxing was; I AM the GREATEST OF ALL TIME (GOAT).
Then March 2020 hit. Like the majority of the people in the world, I GOT HIT UNEXPECTEDLY! Bam. Taking a knee. I gave it a week. Looked at what was going on. What did the trends say? The writing was on the world wide wall. This whole shutdown, Coronavirus crap, was not going to go away. Not anytime soon, that was for sure.
I pivoted business online. My #1 concern beside my son, was my Parkinson’s clients. You see depression and feelings of isolation, is a normal everyday occurrence with Parkinson’s Disease. As a nurse; compassion, empathy, and understanding is always there. I did not want my clients to feel any worse than they already could possibly feel. Especially some of them being single, whether widowed or divorced. Isolation is not a normal way of human nature. In fact, people have died in history with the lack of physical connection. I learned this in college. Yet, I am not here to tell you the history of deaths, and isolation. I am writing to express and share my own personal experiences these last two years.
RSB Toronto East pivoted online for everyday zoom classes. It was rough, and one of the toughest weeks I had in quite some time. BUT myself and my other coach, Fiona, DID IT!
I also had my parents to think about. I made sure my parents were safely on their way back from a trip out to the West Coast of Canada. My parents being in their late 70’s was my other concern. Even though my life had been years of being emerged in the boxing world. I love my parents. They have done so much for me. I did not want to see anything happen to them. I wanted to immediately be there to help. Don’t get me wrong. My parents are strong, and healthy (where do you think I get a lot of my mentality from). But they are in a vulnerable population. As an only child, it’s my responsibility to look after them. They had a house in Woodview (rural place 30mins outside of Peterborough, Ontario). This is where I grew up most of my years. My son, and I made our way to spend the first few months of the pandemic, in Woodview, with them. Looking back I have to chuckle. So many friends over the years, always said;
“when the apocalypse hits, being with my hunting, trapping, farm, doomsday preparation Button’s country place, would be the first place, we’d go.“ Now here we were. Not apocalyptic, but still close enough.
Now, this is part in the story, that things really do flip. I still had my townhouse in Toronto, rented under my name, being sublet. My parents had the house in Woodview up for sale. And all of a sudden their house got sold. Within one month, I had to make a major life decision for my son, and myself. Stay in Toronto, and be separated from my parents? For gosh knows for how long. Or move earlier than originally planned to, to Newfoundland.
Well, we moved. What that meant, is that everything about boxing I had lived and breathed for 18 years, went out the window. No more boxing gyms. No more fights. No more training partners. No more being around and close to friends, who lived and breathed the same passion as myself. I knew moving to the Rock would be a different culture, and way of living. Somehow, I was not psychologically prepared for how much of a culture shock it would be for myself. How much not having boxing around me, would feel like the punch in the ring, you never see coming.
The first 3 months were grand. It was summer. Newfoundland, throughout the years, was my vacation spot. This tradition was the same for my son.
I was on vacation, stress free mode. Then late fall, and winter hit. Bam. I had to take another knee. Throughout the years. During winter times, boxing gyms were always my refuge. Training myself, or training others. The gyms helped me cope with ongoing bouts of seasonal depression. Throughout the late fall of 2020, winter 2021, and getting into 2022. To say it sucked, feels kind of like a major understatement. Isolation, separation, and the feelings of depression that comes with it, kicked in.
I struggled on and off for quite a few months. Since I began my boxing journey, I’m that person on social media who posts things that are motivating, inspiring, and keep you rejuvenated to fill your cup. For my friends, and training partners who really know me. Now you know why. My posts where not the same way I have been over the years.
Thank goodness for my goats. If I didn’t have them, and my ex fiancé at the time. Things very well could have turned darker than what they were. However, I am a fighter, and I NEVER GIVE UP HOPE! I know with faith, hope anything is possible. In addition to having had some major hard core life experiences. I’d built my serious emotional resilience. I knew, after darkness, comes light! I just needed to keep holding on.
You may be wondering. What happened to my son, throughout this time? Well that monkey transitioned way better than I did. He was in his final year of high school. I bought him a car. He got a part time job, and made real flesh, and blood, friends, and social networks. Like it was the easiest thing to do.
My transition was NOT THE SAME. Rough. Bumpy. Fuck. Reflecting on it. Rough, and bumpy kinda feels like an MAJOR understatement. But I’ve made it. The light is about to burst. Here’s why.
I’ve found my tribe again. Ha. Life, the Universe, God; whatever you believe controls the human-ness of it all. Has a funny way of bringing people together, and at the right timing. It’s March 14, 2022. Newfoundland’s mandates have now been lifted. For myself, I know it’s way overdue time to begin networking, and finding like minded people in REAL LIFE. NOT virtual. I had done my best since moving, to remain (and still remain) connected to Toronto, throughout the 11yrs I lived there.
Yet now, myself, like so many others, have been CRAVING REAL CONNECTION, with in person PEOPLE. It was time to get out there and build new connections.
I found out that a St John’s boxing club, Rock Athletics, was hosting live amateur fights. My son drove us into town to watch (this totally made my day!) I FINALLY got to meet with the boxing community there. Rock Athletics gym owner, Robbie Wiseman, eagerly, introduced me to the president of Newfoundland boxing, Hank Summers.
The boxing community is tight knit, and is always eager to help each other. Why? Well, for those of you who are a part of it, and reading this blog post. You know exactly why!
For those of you that have no clue. I will spell it out for you: BOXING SAVES LIVES! One obvious example is the Rock Steady Boxing program for people with Parkinson’s. However, more mainstream examples are names like Manny Paquaio, from the Philippines, and Mike Tyson. I honestly can’t remember where he’s from. BUT EVERYONE knows who Mike Tyson is. If you don’t. Seriously where have you been living the last 30yrs, UNDER A ROCK?
If it wasn’t for boxing, they would have stayed in the slums, or ended up in jail. Throughout both their careers, they have talked about it numerous times. Now that I have that clarified. Moving onto the connections of the universe.
Talking to Hank, the name Andrew Slade came up in conversation. It was twice in one week, from two different sources, this guy’s name had been mentioned to me. I was like ok. I get it. We’re supposed to connect, for one reason or another. We finally got a hold of each other and met up. The funny thing is, we’d been in the exact same circles, for years, but never met. I grew up outside of Peterborough, he’s originally from Peterborough, and lived there too. I went to Trent University for Nursing, his sister went to Trent University for nursing. Almost the exact same year(s). His Father is from Newfoundland. My Father is from Newfoundland. We spent most of our childhood summers, in and close to Carbonear.
Here’s the FUNNIEST part. He came, and trained with Scott Eccles (who is the coach that got me into boxing) at BEL Boxing. Shortly after I left, BEL, and moved to live, work, and develop my boxing skills in Toronto. Andrew began helping out with BEL.
Here we are March, 2022. Rural Newfoundland, Carbonear, finally meeting. Andrew moved to Carbonear in 2019 to begin developing a fight team. Shortly after he moved, 2020 hit. We all know what the last two years have been like. A ridiculous roller coaster ride, called a pandemic. Now for years of moving in the same circles, and never officially meeting, March 25, we met.
With a small gym at the back of his house in Carbonear, for the first time in TWO years, I finally got to really box again. With mandates lifted, he began classes again. He held focus pads for me. Andrew, like myself, is a professional fighter. So, he knows what he’s doing. To say, the gratitude of finding this in a rural community, just around the corner from me, means the world to me. Gratitude is a major understatement of what I was feeling.
I cried from the two years of feeling: anger, depression, frustrations, disconnection, in not being a part of a boxing community, and having no idea if I would ever be able to find and be a part of that family again. The tears that rolled down my cheeks were tears of gratitude and relief. Finding another coach that has the same type of experiences, and out look as I do. Who wants the exact same thing. To bring the #1 olympic sport of boxing to a community, TO HELP SAVE LIVES!
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