At first sight Jeff Murray seems like the epitome of a world class athlete. He's quick, strong and determined but a chiseled exterior buries a story of a troubled youth whose life changed after a bout with 23000 pounds of metal and rubber.
"I got hit by a semi-truck. I went from like 180 to like 240, gained a lot of weight and became real depressed."
Battered both physically and emotionally, Murray took up boxing. A sport, while brutal and menacing requires a more cerebral approach which Murray conquered becoming a 3 time Georgia State Champion as an amateur but deep within a façade of dominance
"In 2002 they gave him months to live but he lived until 2004"
Murray's brother, James, a former captain of the Camilla police department fell victim to colon cancer. He was a figure in Jeff's life that kept a young man who struggled with peer pressure and racial tension grounded in faith.
"He was that Dad figure, he saw that talent in me that I wanted to waist."
And now he fights but not just for himself or his brother or several of his aunts who succumbed to breast cancer but also for two year old Brynlee Ethridge who is in a fight for her life with Leukemia. Murray got word of her sickness after seeing several signs in and around the Mitchell County area asking for prayers. And with his first professional bout looming, he plans to donate 100% of his winnings among the three causes.
"Once you basically get to do something you want to do and realize that the cause is bigger than you I think that's a great payment it self"
It's an unprecedented gesture saturated in love and kindness and evidence that one man can indeed make a difference. A man driven by his brother up who from heaven still whispers in his ear.
"Almost like when i want to slip back into doing what was wrong to try to get ahead I hear his voice, he's there, he's like an angel."
So James and Brynlee, no need to fight, there's another angel doing the fighting for you.
For more information or to donate to either of the causes you can contact Sho-Time promotions at 229-328-5569 or mail to P.O. Box 4547, Albany,GA 31706.
Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.