Christina Kebort, chief instructor at Kebort's Karate Tigers, brought out a concrete slab.
With a black sharpie, she wrote the word cancer to honor her niece who is battling cancer, Alexis Ackley. Kebort wasn't sure how successful she would be with the amount of emotion behind it.
Sure enough to her liking, the slab broke.
Each student who participated in the kick-a-thon broke a board to stomp out cancer. Pictured are Shane Federko; Michael Phillips, assistant instructor; Christina Kebort, chief instructor; Alexis Ackley; Deston Guyot; Malahki Schroder; and Rider Carlson.
P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy
The kick-a-thon, a benefit to honor Alexis Ackley, brought students and parents together in support. Pictured are Alexis, Kebort, and Nancy Ackley, grandmother of Alexis.
P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy
A benefit for Alexis, a young girl battling cancer, kicked off at the Jamestown YMCA on Saturday morning. Students of Kebort's Karate Tigers came to kick out cancer and honor Alexis. Demonstrations were given throughout the morning to show different moves and tactics of karate, which Kebort stated is solely for self-defense.
After the demonstrations, the time was right to kick and break some boards. The young karate kids cut the boards in half with their feet while Kebort and Michael Phillips, assistant instructor, cut boards in half with their feet and fists. After they smashed the boards in half, it became time for Alexis to cut one in half too. Kebort, who is the aunt of Alexis, stood beside as she split a board, with the word cancer, in half. Parents and supporters who came out clapped an cheered.
"Casey Schroder and I were talking about honoring my niece," Kebort said. "It was my idea, but it was something I wanted to do for my niece who continues to battle cancer."
Kebort has done kick-a-thons before for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, but this one was just a bit more special for her. She was happy to see members of her karate class come out and honor Alexis, who has also been involved with karate for quite some time. Schroder, who helped Kebort put a Facebook page together for Alexis, said that it was good to see the kids break the thick boards considering the amount of practice time they've had.
"This one here was just personal, so honestly, I was very nervous because I wanted it go well," Kebort said. "She's very strong and very brave. Alexis is an inspiration. I'm so grateful for the students and parents who were involved."
After Alexis split the board and Kebort snapped the concrete slab, they all came together for a photo opportunity.
"I wanted Alexis to break through the board today to stomp out cancer," Kebort said. "I thought it was symbolic and her and I previously talked about that. I told her I would break the concrete slab."
Kebort commended parents and students who attended for their willingness in coming out to support Alexis and her battle with cancer.
"She (Kebort) wanted to really do something," Schroder said. "She's always helping other people."