Mekena’s Journey Grapplethon

Yesterday Studio 540  held Mekena’s Journey Grapplethon in order to raise money for her cancer treatment. Back in February of this year Rita‘s God Daughter was admitted into the hospital after a stomachache. Once admitted, an 11 cm tumor was found which was diagnosed as neuroblastoma. She has been kept at the hospital since then with the exception of a weekend pass which she was granted recently.

I had never met Rita, her God Daughter, or had even ever been at Studio 540 but I was compelled to participate. Several people in my life have had to deal with cancer including one of my closest friends. It’s hard enough seeing adults go through it all so I couldn’t realistically begin to fathom what a child’s journey is like.

Walking in I have got to say that Studio 540 is the NICEST gym I have ever visited or trained at. I was in awe with how much space there was for everything. Great mats, lounge area, changing room, and showers. It was AWESOME!!

It was an all around a great experience. The house was packed, so much so that you couldn’t freely roll. You were always concerned with where everyone was and if you had enough space to push for a sweep or a an around the legs guard pass for example. In the scope of raising money it’s a great problem to have. Most people were mindful of each other and more often than not you could hear random apologies being traded back and forth between pairs.

Aside from helping for a great cause I got to hang out with two of my friends. Dean and I got to get some rounds in which doesn’t happen as often as it used to since I changed schools. It was great seeing his wife Rachel and their daughter Lily. I was also able to meet Raf from Verbal Tap for the first time. I’ve been following his podcast and social media accounts for a while now so it was a pleasure to finally talk in person and have a few rolls together.

All around it was an awesome experience which I was incredibly happy to be a part of. A special thanks to Studio 540 for quickly becoming an amazing place for the Jiu-Jitsu community to come together in SoCal!

In closing, if you’re up for it you can still donate. Every little bit helps, so no amount is too small.


Purple Belt Jiu-Jitsu practitioner

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