Kimberly Kaye Lopez is a warrior. This BJJ blue belt has been fighting an uphill battle due to living with Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction (CIPO): a rare gastrointestinal disorder that mimics an obstruction, but is actually caused by the muscles and nerves in the GI tract failing. When she first went to the doctor in 2012 for symptoms that included diarrhea, acid reflux, stomach and joint pain, and severe fatigue, she was down fifteen pounds from her normal weight and far too weak to train. She was able to resume training for a while, but it was only a matter of time before her GI issues threw another wrench into her plans.
Kimberly was in the hospital from the end of January until the end of April, but now, she’s back to doing what she loves as a performer and writer. She’s also on track to resume rolling like she used to, but she and her purple belt husband, Ray, are also being faced with an additional challenge: an ever-growing pile of medical bills.
To help offset the costs of Kimberly’s treatment and raise awareness for CIPO, Ray (who is the founder and head instructor at Wulfpack MMA & Tactical Self-Defense in New Orleans, Louisiana) has dedicated himself to pushing through a challenge of his own: rolling for 24 hours straight. Yes, you read that right. From 11 am on Saturday, May 27 to 11 am on Sunday, May 28, Ray is going to be doing what he and Kimberly love for ten minutes at a time, resting for only three minutes in between each roll and for sixty minutes at the twelve-hour mark.
The event is going to be an open mat at New State Fitness/ Nola BJJ Metaire, with a monetary donation of any size requested for entry. Ray wants to encourage anyone who can to stop by for some rolls to raise awareness and support for his “partner in crime”, but if the trip is too far for you, you can watch it happen live through the stream on New State Fitness’ Facebook page.
If you’d like to support Ray’s incredibly thoughtful (and slightly crazy) endeavor, please donate whatever you can via Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org or Venmo at @ramonlopez2. This power couple hosted a Roll for Nichole to help raise awareness for suicide last year, so it would be great if some of that classic BJJ community love could be given to them in return. They’ve really been through hell, and anything we can do to make the trip out a little easier would mean the world to them.
Both on the mats and in the rest of her life, Kimberly is no quitter. “She has pushed incredibly hard to get herself to this point and is beyond thrilled to be back home!” Ray says of his beloved wife. Kimberly will be back to choking people out in no time, but until she is, it looks like her husband is more than willing to do enough jiu-jitsu for the both of them if it means helping the love of his life.