P.J. Kearney, an 11-year-old who lives in Laconia, is shown here in the pilot’s seat of an airplane. His doctors believe that they have found a way to treat his rare form of cancer. (Courtesy photo)
By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — When Tommy Mack climbs through the ropes, he’s a fierce and intimidating wrestler. Outside of the ring, though, he’s a man who cares for those around him. Both sides of Mack will be on display next Saturday, March 24, at the Whiskey Barrel, when Mack and promoter Bill Trevor will put on “Injustice for Brawl,” a star-studded night of wrestling to benefit P.J. Kearney, a local 11-year-old boy undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer.
Mack’s body is covered with tattoos, which serve to further his tough-guy persona in the ring. His tattooist of choice is Pete Kearney, at Some Funky Skillz TAT2ING on Main Street in Laconia. You don’t get as much ink as Mack does without developing a relationship with an artist, so when P.J. was diagnosed with cancer, Mack found out about it.
After seeing countless doctors, including a misdiagnosis of alopecia areata and subsequent ineffective treatment, P.J. was finally diagnosed at Boston Children’s Hospital with a rare but manageable form of T-cell lymphoma, a skin cancer.
P.J.’s prognosis is good, his doctors think they have found an ultraviolet light treatment that seems to be working. But, he’ll need three more months of the treatment, which means many more days of driving down to Boston for both him and his parents.
The ordeal has been taxing on the Kearney family. P.J. has seen more than 25 doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon and 150 doctors at various hospitals in Boston. Each of those appointments has come with fuel and other travel expenses, as well as lost income. Trevor and Mack are planning “Injustice for Brawl” to help defray the costs to Pete and Sue to take their son for his treatments.
Ticket holders will be admitted at 7 for the event, remaining walk-up tickets will go on sale at the door beginning at 7:15, with the first bell ringing at 8 p.m. The audience will be treated to two hours of wrestling entertainment. The night features the theme of “U.S. against the World,” with each match pitting an American wrestler against someone from beyond our borders.
“There’s probably never been a wrestling show in New England with this lineup,” said Trevor.
On the bill are: Robbie E, Don Vega, WWE hall-of-famer Tony Atlas and Deonna Purrazzo, who wrestles with Ring of Honor. They will face Josef von Schmidt, Damian Adams, Justin Credible, Markus Burke, Karen Qu and The Boogeyman, who is signed to WWE. The show will be headlined by a match between the Lakes Region’s own “Master of Mayhem” Mack against “Samoan Storm” Afa Jr., and there’s a big surprise that Mack and Trevor are keeping up their sleeve, too.
A list of more than 20 businesses signed up to be sponsors. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be given to the Kearney family, as will revenue from a 50-50 raffle and T-shirt sales. Some of the ticket proceeds will also go to Boston Children’s Hospital. Food will be available for purchase.
Tickets are moving briskly, leading Trevor and Mack to think that the event will sell out. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Some Funky Skills TAT2ING or at the Looney Bin. Tickets can also be bought online at www.injusticeforbrawl.com. VIP and floor seating have all sold already, leaving only general admission for $20.
“Twenty bucks to see the greatest show in New England wrestling history,” said Trevor. “We’ve got some really good talent.”
Mack said the show next Saturday is a prime example of why he keeps getting into the ring.
“It makes it all worth it. As independent wrestlers, we don’t make any money. All we have is fan reaction, adrenaline, making kids and their families happy for that 15 minutes you’re out there in front of them. That’s what keeps us going.”
And to do so in order to help a child like P.J. will make “Injustice for Brawl” all the more special. When asked to describe P.J., Mack paused and then explained what happened when he told Pete and Sue about the plans for the event.
“When I told his family what we wanted to do, P.J. turned around and told his dad and me that he wanted to donate it to Boston Children’s – that’s the kind of kid he is.”
Tommy Mack, at left, and Bill Trevor are organizing a night of wrestling entertainment on March 24, to benefit the family of a local boy who is being treated for cancer. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)