Isaac Perkinson, 7, is raising money to fight cancer in his mother's name.
As a wrestler, Lakewood Ranch's Isaac Perkinson, 7, is used to taking down human opponents.
Right now, he's focused on helping his mother in a fight unlike any he or she has faced before.
Perkinson was going through some wrestling moves with his mother, Christin Perkinson, 42, in March when Isaac felt what he called a knot on her chest. He asked what it was. Christin, who had not previously felt the lump, said she was not sure. She would have to get it checked out.
Two weeks later, Christin returned home from a doctor's visit to deliver the news to Isaac and his 8-year old sister, Ellie Perkinson. The lump was a tumor. Christin had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I wanted to be open and honest with them," Christin Perkinson said. "We had a conversation about what it [breast cancer] was and they made a list of questions they had about it. They wanted to ask them to the doctor."
Those questions included "Did mommy do anything wrong to make this happen?" and "When will the cancer be gone?" The questions showed Christin that her children were taking the situation seriously and with a measure of maturity. Not only did they understand, but they wanted to help in any way they could.
To that end, Christin gave them some suggestions. Ellie could help with more chores around the house, taking some stress off of Christin, and Isaac … well, at first Christin tried to get him to give her back massages, but he wasn't fully into that idea. Instead, he wanted to do something related to the way he found the lump on her chest — wrestling.
Isaac has been wrestling for two years. Christin said his interest in the sport came out of nowhere. One day, he just said he wanted to try it. Christin was hesitant. She didn't know anything about the sport. It took six months of begging for Christin to relent. Isaac joined the Manatee High junior program (Manatee Wrestling Club) and never looked back. Isaac, who wrestles at the 48-pound level, finished second overall at his first-ever tournament in Naples, just a few weeks after starting the sport. This January, Isaac — nicknamed both "I-Man" and "The Beast" — finished second in his division at the AAU State Wrestling Championships in Osceola. Ellie's his self-proclaimed biggest fan, even helping him practice his moves.
After her diagnosis, Christin heard about Pin Cancer, a nonprofit that holds wrestling events to raise money and awareness for cancer research. One event, the 2021 Pin Cancer National Tournament, will be held Sept. 4. Each tournament participant holds their own fundraising campaign. Raising $200 gets the wrestler free entry into the tournament; $300 gets you a Pin Cancer water bottle, while $400 gets you a T-shirt, and so on, up to $1,000 (a pair of wrestling shoes).
Christin asked Isaac if he wanted to sign up and start a campaign. He did. He wasted no time getting started, taking flyers to school and talking about his cause to anyone who was interested. It was an effective strategy. As of June 18, Isaac had raised $2,211, more money than any other wrestler and 88% of the way to his goal of $2,500.
"When I first heard about it [Christin's diagnosis] I was a little scared," Isaac said. "This makes me feel like I'm helping."
Christin Perkinson is currently going through chemotherapy. When that's over, surgery and radiation treatment await. The Perkinson family's fight is, unfortunately, not over. Christin said having kids as loving as Isaac and Ellie helps keep her strong.
To donate to Isaac Perkinson's Pin Cancer fundraiser, visit getinvolved.pincancer.org.
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