Bayside gym raises nearly $5,000 to aid 2-year-old Floral Park boy fighting leukemia
By Ethan MarshallPosted on
Butch’s Boxing and MMA in Bayside held a fundraiser Saturday benefiting 2-year-old Aiden Kruger of Floral Park as he battles leukemia. (Photo by Adrian Childress)
Butch’s Boxing and MMA in Bayside held a fundraiser on Nov. 19 benefiting 2-year-old Aiden Kruger of Floral Park as he battles leukemia. According to the gym’s owners, this event raised $4,977 for Kruger.
Kruger was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on Jan. 28 of this year and has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since. The most common type of cancer to affect children, ALL occurs when bone marrow cells develop errors in its DNA.
The fundraising event featured showcases of the gym’s kid and teen boxing programs. There were also live boxing sparring sessions and Brazilian jiujitsu rolling sessions. A meet-and-greet with members of the FDNY and NYPD was also held. Aiden received a gift basket that featured a giant teddy bear and two stuffed Mickey Mouses.
Butch and Amanda Rinaldi, the owners and operators of Butch’s Boxing and MMA Gym, have a history of helping to raise money for causes like this. In 2018, they held a fundraiser for 3-year-old Olivia Tarazona, who, according to Amanda Rinaldi, is now doing much better.
Amanda estimated that 100 to 150 people attended the event, including Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Councilwoman Vickie Paladino.
“Aiden looked like he had a blast, smiling and in tune with the whole show,” Amanda said. “My students, especially the teenagers, are asking me when we can do the next one. Morale is great. It feels amazing doing for others and I feel like everyone in that room was happy to contribute to Aiden’s special day.”
In addition to providing sparring matches and showcases, the gym’s jiujitsu instructor, Mark Staniszewski, announced a new program, Team Believe. This program will provide free training and workouts to immediate family members of a child with cancer.
“Our family is so grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement from the community and from Butch’s gym,” Nicole Baseil, Aiden’s mother, said. “The energy was palpable as soon as you walked into the gym – from the ‘Team Aiden’ t-shirts, to the dedication of the matches that say ‘Aiden’s fight’, to the local stores that had donated food and baskets for the event. Amanda, Butch and their team prepared and presented thoughtful messages and statistics about childhood cancer to educate the community and increase awareness. Aiden is blessed to be so supported in his fight. We are truly thankful.”