MMA star Cris “Cyborg” Justino is helping raise money for a boy she met while training for her first Bellator fight.
A post on her website said she met 5-year-old Ryan Burchell while training in South Africa. The young boy is “receiving treatment for Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer which develops from skeletal muscle cells that have failed to fully differentiate.”
The boy has a tumor on his pelvis and is going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment in hopes to shrink it before surgery. Cyborg and the child developed a friendship while she was training.
“The parents of Ryan are doing their best to help their son win this fight, his mother a full time Chiropractor has put her practice on hold to take care of her son full time, while her father is a farmer and balancing the duties while also taking care of his family,” the post said. “The costs of medical care has become a huge strain on them.”
Cyborg is asking for donations to help Ryan and his family.
“All money raised will go into an account in Ryan’s name and will be used towards his medical costs and associated travel expenses, with funds being raised going directly into the beneficiary’s bank account.”
Cyborg, who had fought in the UFC before moving to Bellator, will make her debut for the promotion on Jan. 25 against Julia Budd.