Martial artists help kick cancer’s butt
By PAMELA GRANT
On Saturday, dozens of martial artists banded together with Copperas Cove’s Candy Outfitters to help a local woman with her fight to beat cancer.
Linda McMurray, wife of Grandmaster James McMurray, who owns House of Discipline martial arts school in Harker Heights, is battling cancer for a third time. Seeing the financial burden, one of McMurray’s students, Arial Draper, age 13, helped organize a kickathon fundraiser to help pay for Linda McMurray’s cancer treatments.
McMurray was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma, a lung cancer. She is currently recovering from treatments, but will be undergoing further treatments. McMurray was feeling well enough to attend the event on Saturday and was overwhelmed by the support.
“It’s really wonderful, I’m just at a loss of words for it. It’s so amazing,” said McMurray. “Things like this really help.”
Starting at 11 a.m. and running throughout the day, various martial artists gathered at the candy store to show their support. Candy Outfitters also offered a 20 percent discount on all purchases if one mentioned they were with the kickathon. The store also donated a percentage of all sales to the cause. Visitors could also donate money in other ways.
The group set up a BOB (Body Object Bag) wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a red target and the words “kick cancer.” For $1, anyone could throw three kicks on the bag and received a swag bag.
Participants could also pay $10 to enter a roundhouse kicking contest. The winner received a portion of the jackpot of entry fees, 2nd place received a coupon for five free large sundaes from Waffle Cone, and 3rd place received a coupon for $25 from Michele’s Floral and Gifts. Angelina Railsback from House of Discipline won the competition with 118 kicks in one minute. Nathan Wheeler from Self Defense America came in 2nd place with 102 kicks in one minute, and former House of Discipline student Adele Thomas came in 3rd place with 93 kicks in one minute.
Throughout the day, students of Harker Heights’ House of Discipline, Legacy Martial Arts, and Copperas Cove’s Self Defense America showed their support by performing demonstrations outside the store.
“It’s for a good cause,” said Master Jimmy Hogberg, the owner of Copperas Cove’s Self Defense America. “It’s good for all these martial artists to be able to come together to help the community.”
Ariel Draper said she got the idea for the kicking cancer in the butt fundraiser from a similar event she saw in Florida.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Draper. “I don’t want them struggling financially…Everybody’s been really supportive. I’m very happy that people are willing to help me help Linda.”
“My students are awesome,” said Grandmaster James McMurray, Linda McMurray’s husband. “Ariel put this on by herself.”
McMurray said that he offered to help them out, but said Ariel was determined to do it without help.
“They did a fantastic job. I’m really proud of them,” said McMurray. “They want to give back, not just for me, but to advance the community. They want to make the community better, and that’s wonderful.”
For many martial artists, members of their school and their instructors become like family. Dorian Frieson, a member of McMurray’s school said that he thinks of Grandmaster McMurray as a father figure and said that it was important for him to attend the event in support of Linda McMurray because, “She’s family too.’
Jennifer White, the owner of Candy Outfitters, said that they feel it’s important to help by getting involved and helping to host events with great causes.
“There’s so many causes, we like to help however we can,” said White. “Cancer unfortunately affects so many people. It’s very warming to see the community come together.”
Anyone who missed the event, but wants to donate can do so at McMurray’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/e5tugw-lindas-cancer-medical-fund