How Jiu-Jitsu helped a blue belt at Brazil 021 face the toughest challenge of her life

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Cheryl (left), Professor Hannette, fellow student

Cheryl (left), Professor Hannette, fellow student Teresa Do

Cheryl Kosche is a blue belt at Brazil 021, in Chicago, Illinois.

She started training in 2014, when she joined Professor Hannette Staack’s women’s class.

Soon after that, Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer and the toughest battle of her life began, as she tells us: “A year and a half ago I started treatment for cancer. Since then I have had 8 surgeries (4 major) and 2 drug treatments. Last November, I had another major surgery and had 6lbs of tumors removed from my abdomen along with some other organs. Thankfully the tumors were not cancerous, just really big.”

Throughout all this time, one thing helped Cheryl to keep on going: “Despite all of this, this past Saturday was very special as I returned to BJJ. While I kept trying to train during my treatment, I never felt good. Saturday I not only trained normal but felt great afterward. While I was muscle sore from being out of shape, I felt better than I can remember feeling in a very long time.”

As the physical part of BJJ is important, Cheryl’s story stresses how vital is the bond within the Jiu-Jitsu community for those going through hard times: “I want to thank Professor Hannette Staack and Professor Andre Terencio for all your kindness and support. In all my years I have never experienced anything like it. Every time I was really down, someone from Brazil 021 would reach out from somewhere in the country at the exact right time.”

One person was specially important: ” I think Professor Hannette has psychic powers. When I met Professor Hannette and wanted to try the women’s BJJ class, I could never have imagined how important she would become to me and how much she would help me through the toughest time in my life. I am so happy to back!!”

Such a great story! Fight on, Cheryl!


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