Boxers 'Unite and Fight' to help retired St. Paul Sgt. with ALS

It's training day at Uppercut Gym in northeast Minneapolis, but there's no title on the line and no opponent to beat. These boxers are going toe-to-toe because someone needs their help.

John Gromek is there to thank the boxers who are there to fight for his brother.

"Right now he's able to walk but it's very slow it's very unstable, he needs help," he said.

Now retired St. Paul Police Sgt. Craig Gromek is a 30-year law enforcement veteran who was recently diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative, debilitating disease that attacked the nerve endings in his body.

"A personal caregiver was hired and is with him while his wife, Ruth, goes to work each day. So she's there and that's not covered by insurance or anything like that," John Gromek said.

Those costs are adding up, and that's where the boxing comes in. To help, Craig's fellow police officers as well as area firefighters and EMS workers will fight each other here in the ring to benefit Craig and his family.

"Typically, we're called when people need help, and very rarely do people kind of come to our aid, so that's why this is such a cool event that when a police officer, firefighter or EMS worker is in need, you know we kind of unite and fight," organizer Alex Freese said.

Many of the boxers are setting foot in the ring for the first time, some of them don't even know Craig, but they're all happy to put their love for their brother ahead of their pride, because they know if he could, Craig would do the same for them. Whether they only know Craig by name, or shared a bedroom with him for 18 years, this is what family looks like, and they're in this fight together.

How you can help

The "Unite and Fight" benefit will be held Saturday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Uppercut Gym in northeast Minneapolis. They're selling cash tickets at the door at 6 p.m. for $20. You can also make donations to the "Sergeant Craig Gromek Benefit Fund" at any Bremer Bank location.

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