More Than Medals: Chris Harvey

MORE THAN MEDALS shares the heartfelt stories of our fundraisers, revealing the faces behind our cause. Today, we share the story of Chris Harvey and his wife, Cathy.

Chris is a blue belt who trains at Gracie Decatur in Decatur, GA. Chris is raising funds for the Tap Cancer Out Atlanta BJJ Open which is on May 11, 2024.


Chris’ wife, Cathy, was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was 13 years old. She received the standard care of surgery and radiation, which, though it treated the disease, did serious damage to her heart, resulting in two open-heart surgeries to replace heart valves in her 40s. In 2020, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery to remove the tumor. Then, in late 2023, the family was surprised to find that the breast cancer had metastasized in her spine.

Throughout all this, Cathy has been the most dedicated mother to their four children (who were a source of strength during her treatment) and has weathered her significant health challenges with no complaints, rising to the challenge each time and resuming her duties as a wife and mom.

Chris started training Jiu Jitsu in 2021 at the age of 54. Before that, he had spent 20 years as a police officer in metro Atlanta. In 2021, at the same time he started to train Jiu Jitsu, he became the Deputy Executive Director of Georgia POST, the state agency that is responsible for training standards for all peace officers in Georgia. Chris immediately saw how beneficial Jiu-Jitsu would be for every law enforcement officer both from a tactical and safety point of view, but also as an effective way for them to stay healthy and fit for duty (both mentally and physically).

Chris was fortunate to find Gracie Decatur Jiu Jitsu in Decatur, GA, where co-owners Jason and Alora Brock have cultivated a tremendous community of great people who train hard, but are always looking out for each other. He trains there 4-5 times per week where he is lucky enough to usually roll with people who are sometimes his kids’ ages. Chris says it helps keep him physically fit, and just as importantly, it helps him deal with his stress. In many ways, Chris says he is the annoying guy who is always talking about Jiu Jitsu, but the fact is, Jiu-Jitsu came along at the perfect time for him.

When Chris saw the Tap Cancer Out Tournament coming to Atlanta, he knew he had to participate. When Cancer came back last December, they had so many people asking how they could help. The fact was, there wasn’t much to be done except to pray. Now, Chris feels they have given people a concrete thing they can do to bring support to so many people who are battling this disease. The Harvey family has been overwhelmed by the generosity and support of so many of their friends, family, Jiu-Jitsu folks, work colleagues, and others. Chris never planned on competing in any Jiu-Jitsu tournaments until he saw that the TCO Atlanta event was a way to let people show Cathy how much they cared for her and that they were in her corner.

Chris closes by saying he has been blessed to have been married to Cathy for almost 29 years, and he’ll fight for her for another 29 if given the chance.

You can follow Chris” fundraising journey here! We want to thank Chris for being so open with his story and we are wishing Cathy nothing but good health in the future.

If you have a story you want to share, you can contact us at info@tapcancerout.org- but be sure to customize your fundraising page!