I never thought I would be sharing my story of how a sport, known for its aggression and violence, saved me from a life of addiction. As a ballet dancer, I had dedicated my life to perfecting my craft and chasing my dreams, attending the ballet school of Elmhurst. But when I finished dancing and returned to an all-boys rugby school, I got a hard time for dancing, some were very impressed by it.

I began my boxing journey to redeem my reputation and I fell in love with it. Finding many similarities between it and dance. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon with drink and drugs towards the end of school and was kicked out of home at 17 and went to live with my older brother Paul O’Hare who did all he could to help me, but I was completely off the rails and ended up leaving. I hit rock bottom, and I felt like there was no way out. I was homeless, jobless, and broke and had been sleeping in an abandoned bus for a week in the cold. I had only one thought in my head, I have to box, I have to be the best. I needed a drive and focus to change my life around.

Boxing not only helped me to physically and mentally heal but also gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I am now a 5-0 professional boxer, eyeing up my 6th professional contest on March 10 in Gloucester. I have big dreams and plans for my future in the sport, and I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me and the person it has helped me become.

To all those who doubted me, who laughed at me, who told me I couldn’t do it, I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving me the drive and determination to prove you wrong. To all those who supported me, I want to say thank you. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Also, a massive thank you to my mum for kicking me out of home. I am a strong believer in tough love, having reaped the rewards of it myself. A massive thank you to my brother Paul who was the last person to have my back and who never gave up on me. The road has been long and hard, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s the struggles that make the victories that much sweeter.

I cannot recommend boxing enough to anyone who is struggling with their mental health. It has been a lifeline for me. Whether you’re dealing with addiction, depression, or just a lack of direction—boxing can provide the focus, discipline, and sense of purpose that you need. But if boxing is not for you, find something that is. Find a drive and purpose and follow it through.