Award-winning boxing photographer Emily Harney will swap her Nikon camera for a pair of Society Nine boxing gloves for one night — Wednesday, October 10 — when she fights in a charity event to KO cancer, the sixth annual Hayemakers for Hope: Belle of the Ball, at House of Blues Boston.
Fighting out of Salem, MA, Harney is entering her fourth year as a visual arts teacher at Gloucester High School, where her students learn photography, graphic design and integrated media.
Haymakers for Hope is a 501 (c) (3) charity that organizes charity boxing events to raise money for cancer research, care, awareness and survivorship. Emily, whose goal is to raise minimum of $5,000 to KO Cancer, is one of 32 women preparing to step into the ring Oct. 10.
“I’ve worked in and around boxing for 18 years as a photographer and consultant to promoters,” Harney said, “but I have never stepped into the ring to fight. When the time was right, and for the right reasons, I’ve always said I’d get in the ring. This is also the one part of the business of boxing that I am not familiar with: to train, fight, hit and be hit. I’ve covered some of the greatest fighters to ever step in the ring from all aspects of their lives, respecting their dedication, work ethic and privacy. Just in a few short weeks of training, my respect for their knowledge, dedication and lifestyle choices has elevated.
“In 2016, I attended my first Haymakers for Hope event and I was blown away by the energy and support for a cause that means so much to so many of us. I knew if given the opportunity to fight it would be a great honor and it truly is.”
Emily trains at Tomasello’s Boxing Gym in Saugus, MA, where she is trained by Joe Ricarrdi.
Harney is fighting in honor of her late grandmother, Susan Harney; friend and mentor Samuel E. Zoll, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts District Court; and Mason Silva, the son of her Emily’s childhood friend, Alissa Collins-Silva, and her husband, Kevin Silva. Mason was diagnosed at six months old with myelodysplastic syndrome and AML leukemia. After months of treatment, Mason sadly passed away only 23 days after his first birthday.
“This past December,” Harney added, “I was asked by another childhood friend to come and photograph his children for their Christmas card. His daughter Dior (7) was in Boston Children’s battling leukemia. Getting the kids into a photo studio was not an option; and realizing we were confined to her hospital room, we transformed her room into a studio and made some spectacular photographs. Dior was resilient and positive during the time we shared that day. Dior is continuing to fight each and every day with resilience and grace.”