Trying to KO suicide

Women take to the ring to raise money, hope

NORTH ATTLEBORO – About a dozen women’s fists flew furiously into punching bags at the Striking Beauties boxing facility on Saturday morning, not in anger, but as a fundraiser to benefit the Walk For Hope foundation.

Alyssa Caruso, the founder of the Walk for Hope, which raises money for suicide and depression prevention programs, was among the participants, and she was particularly excited to offer the community a different type of fundraiser.

“It’s something new to me, and I wanted to get it out there and share it with everyone,” Caruso said. “My goal for this is to keep the Walk For Hope fresh in everyone’s mind.”

Striking Beauties boxing

The pairing of boxing and fundraising worked out well for Caruso, as the event raised between $300 and $400.

The event originally had been planned to be two 20-minute sessions, with 20 participants donating $20 each, but the two sessions merged into an hour-long workout.

Gym owner Dena Paolino-Sarcia coached the women as they completed warm-up exercises, demonstrated the basic boxing moves, then shadowboxed with small weights.

“You want your arm parallel to the floor,” Paolino-Sarcia said. “Throw your punches out; go easy, don’t throw your elbows out.”

After the basic moves were taught, the women donned boxing gloves and paired up at one of the several punching bags.

“Ideally, throw your jab as you’re moving forward,” Paolino-Sarcia said. “You guys are doing great!”

Paolino-Sarcia, who had first met Caruso during the Walk For Hope’s summer 5K Walk for Hope, aimed to prevent misconceptions about boxing, which is really a cardiovascular and core workout, concentrating in the center of the body, with the power coming from the hips and abdomen.

“It’s awesome working with people who’ve never done it before,” she said. “It was a blast.”

By the end of the session, the women were sweaty, but felt exhilarated by the workout.

“I thought it was really fun,” said Abbey Corey, who is a roommate of Caruso’s younger sister at Bay State College. “I’m ready for another workout now.”

Pattie Gay, of Attleboro, brought her 15-year-old daughter Bridget with her. Both had participated in the Walk For Hope’s event last summer.

“I had a good workout,” Gay said. “I feel great. It was fun, it was different – a good, unique workout.”