The Jiu-Jitsu Community Is Banding Together To Help One Of Its Youngest Members In His Fight Against Brain Cancer

There is no lack of support or help for those who need it in the jiu-jitsu community.

One of the youngest members of the community, a 5-year-old boy named Jackson who trains at Tai Kai Jiu Jitsu near Syracuse, New York, was recently diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.

Jackson and his Father, Phil Mitsiell, a four stripe purple belt who has been training for 9 years, and Jackson’s family are going through what no family should ever have to go through.

However this is not a burden that they bear entirely alone.  Phil and Jackson’s teammates, specifically their coaches Dennis Sugrue and Ben Tallini, will be putting on a seminar in an effort to raise money to help with Jackson’s treatment.

Ben not only has a daughter the same age as Jackson, but she is friends with him. Coach Ben had this to say about the sad situation:

Jackson has been nothing but a little ball of positive energy since starting BJJ. He is always excited to train and play with all the other children. When Phil (who has been a training partner of mine the last nine years) told me that Jackson had been diagnosed with brain cancer and was getting surgery later in the week. I felt a black knot in the pit of my stomach. As a parent, I can’t think of too many things as bad as being told your child has brain cancer. They are great people on and off the mat. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a small tight knit community that is great at taking care of each other when things truly get tough and I am reaching out to that community to help with Jackson. If anyone can attend the free seminar/benefit, donate to help out with medical costs or just share this message so more people can see this and potentially help it would be greatly appreciated.

The seminar will take place on September 2 and is free, but donations are appreciated.  Those organizing it are also looking for goods to raffle off, and any brands interested in helping with this can contact Ben at

The seminar event page can be found here:

The GoFundMe page can be found here:


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