Imagine what you would’ve done with $560 when you were nine years old. For most kids, such a big chunk of change would mean a lot of video games or ice cream sundaes… but Alexia Benton isn’t “most kids.” This young lady isn’t even in the double digits when it comes to her age yet, but her surprisingly mature personality belies her years. She’s a state champion in both wrestling and Taekwondo, a straight-A student, and as of this past Friday, a Fight to Win Pro champion. But even with all those accomplishments under her belt, her greatest trait isn’t her athletic prowess or academic dedication, but her generosity.
When Alexia competed alongside her coach, Justin Rader, at Fight to Win Pro 28 last week in Oklahoma City, she was fighting for much more than another checkbox on her extensive list of accomplishments; she was fighting for Ellie Loy: the four-year-old niece of one of her other coaches, Austin Adkins. Ellie has been battling a rare form of vascular cancer called Angiosarcoma, which so far has no set treatment path. Rader himself has done a lot to raise support and funds for little Ellie, and his positive influence has clearly rubbed off on his students.
You see, for Alexia, having $560 to spend as she wishes wasn’t just a dream — it was her reality after winning her match at Fight to Win Pro. But instead of spending it as a typical nine-year-old would, she gave it all away to help Ellie keep fighting.
Such an act of generosity from such a young kid might be surprising to most people, but for Alexia’s father Jarred, it was just another act of kindness from the daughter he’s raised to be a good person all along. “We try to teach her the values in life that even though you have everything, someone out there might need a helping hand, and she took heed of that and continues to be that person,” he said of his daughter. Jarred said that Alexia’s plan to donate her winnings to Ellie had been set in motion from the moment that she found out she was going to be on the Fight to Win card, saying that Ellie needed the money more than she did.
Still, even though Alexia’s parents have clearly done an amazing job raising such a determined and generous kid, Jarred gives lots of credit to the people who have helped his daughter along on her jiu-jitsu journey. “Lovato’s BJJ is one of a kind, and the people that train there are inspirational to Alexia, especially Professors Rader and [Rafael] Lovato [Jr.] and coach Austin; they are awesome people to look up to!”
Rader, who headlined the event with Garry Tonon, couldn’t be more proud of Alexia.“It’s an honor and inspiration to have her as a student. She truly embodies all of the values and virtues we work so hard to instill in the kids BJJ program, and this act of kindness and selflessness demonstrates it beyond measure. When one of our team, our family, is down, we’re all there to help in any way we can,” he says.
Fight to Win Pro CEO Seth Daniels, who always strives to get athletes on his cards who are good people as well as good competitors, was moved by Alexia’s act of kindness. “It’s always easy to get on a F2W Pro card when you are fighting for something more then yourself. Alexia is a great example for everyone about being selfless and caring. Many adults can take a lesson from this little girl,” he says.
Like Alexia, many other people have also been helping Ellie as she continues the battle against her illness. If you’d like to help her as well, consider donating to and/or sharing her GoFundMe page. This little warrior has a tough road ahead, but thanks to the generosity of friends and strangers from all walks and stages of life, she’s been given a fighting chance.