Profile of Jill Diamond – Jewel of WBC Cares
WBC International Secretary, and Global Chair of WBC Cares Jill Diamond, is the impetus, dynamo plus the very heart and soul of kindness and caring, which reaches the four corners of the World.
Co-founder of WBC Cares, Jill constantly and consistently inspires through her leadership and willingness to go the extra mile, achieving through believing.
The WBC asked Jill how it all started:
When did you first become fascinated by Boxing and how did this develop?
I was not a fan growing up. It wasn’t until my husband passed away and I started boxing myself, did I develop a bond with the sport. My father-in-law was a well-known boxer and my husband an enthusiast. When I started boxing, I felt reconnected to a history that died alongside two men who were very important me. Boxing was my antidepressant, soon my community and later, my passion. It was then that I met so many women athletes, none of whom I’d heard of, and wrote to the WBC expressing my frustration at their underrepresentation. They actually called me back and agreed. And so…the journey began.
How was the idea of WBC Cares created between you and Don Jose?
I was invited to the WBC Convention. I got there, but none of my luggage did. Standing alone in the lobby, knowing no one, wearing crumpled clothing, people started coming up to me, strangers, offering me help, food, things to wear. By the time I hit the first assembly I felt at home. I looked around at the faces of those from all over the world, getting along, united by a sport. And, I remembered their tremendous kindness. That’s when I spoke to Don Jose about Cares. He and Mauricio said “Home run!”. Let’s do it. These are the two with the greatest hearts and the least ability to say ‘No” to anything charitable.
It faced initial resistance. How did you win over the hospital authorities?
Only because a friend of mine from the music business actually built Childrens Hospital LA. He was pivotal in forcing them to let us in. After that, they couldn’t get rid of us. The head of volunteer services, Dr. Ernest Katz said Ït was the best visit they ever had.” Genaro and Erik gave so much love during their rounds with the children, they had to be dragged out of the hospital. Genaro kept returning with gifts and inspiration right up until the time he himself got too sick to visit. A beautiful legacy.
What is your job as Global Chair of WBC Cares?
Basically, keeping up with a group of intelligent and motivated Leaders who run their Care’s Chapters in 25 countries. Every day, something is happening, someone is needing and life gets changed. And now with Chris Manzur, I have a partner and friend who shares the load. We try and keep our efforts focused on boxing, as a means to enlighten, engage and inspire the neediest of people. And it’s also a valuable tool for our boxers who go into hospitals, youth centers, gyms, schools, disaster sites, wherever they are needed, and open the vulnerable part of themselves to others. It’s all voluntary and I am constantly moved by their efforts.
Do you think it`s an indication of the characters of the champions, who`ve championed WBC Cares, which has made it such success?
I think it’s a tribute to all who volunteer. With Cares, we show the best of who we are. It was a grass roots movement that has grown exponentially because of our boxers. Even the most troubled, becomes valuable and elevated when they share their stories. Young people can tell that these are authentic people. Our fighters touch many lives.
No other boxing organization has achieved what the World Boxing Council has accomplished. Why?
Jose and Mauricio. Heart. Graciousness. Commitment.
How does WBC inspire, especially children who are battling live threatening illnesses?
At the least, it’s a welcome distraction for them and their parents. The fact that these warriors, virtual strangers, take the time to care and visit them. Friendships are formed. Confidence is built. Love is there. Sometimes, it takes a fighter to inspire a child to fight.
It may seem like an obvious question, but why was the name WBC Cares Chosen, and who chose it?
We chose it in 2005. It was a group choice, and an obvious one. Originally, World Boxing Cares, before it was shortened to WBC Cares.
What is the range of WBC Cares and can it be further expanded?
We have 25 Global Chapters, and we are always open to expanding. In addition to the Chapters, we have Ambassadors worldwide. And we liaise with like-minded groups.
There’s a process, because we give our time without compensation, other than the pleasure of the work. We have never had a scandal or bad word written, so we are careful to make sure everyone involved is true to the cause. I call our team an Army of Angels.
Boxing engenders, embraces and encourages the gift of great friendship, especially among rivals who often become lifelong friends. Why?
Commonality. No one knows it, feels it or loves it like those involved. It can’t be just about the money. It’s primal. And it’s the most diverse community in the world. We are a crazy, emotional, complicated family, and no one goes down without someone willing to pick them up.
What is the future for WBC Cares?
It will continue to grow organically. The world seems to be more and more challenging.
We are establishing a new website so that people understand more clearly what we do. Most, even in the WBC, really don’t know the extent of our reach, or the specific programs that have been developed. From youthful offenders to aging defenders. The Sulaimans are always there.