Eddie Melo Legacy Organization aims to give underprivileged youth a better future

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WATCH: Eddie Melo Legacy Organization aims to give underprivileged youth a better future – Aug 13, 2017

In the boxing world, Eddie Melo was a rising star. A former Canadian middleweight champion, and originally from Portugal, Melo was known as “The Hurricane” – a force in the ring.

But outside the ring, Melo was all about family and helping young boxers make their mark in the sports world.

Tragedy hit the Melo family in 2001 when Eddie was murdered.

Sixteen years later, his legacy is being honoured through the Eddie Melo Legacy Organization.

Jessica Melo, Eddie’s daughter started the organization to pick up where her father left off. In an interview with Global News, Jessica describes her father as someone determined to help others through boxing.

“Boxing was such a big part of my dad’s life. He started boxing then he was nine years old,” Jessica said.

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“So to give back to the kids who are coming up and get them off the streets, and keeping them safe and giving them something to work towards and hopefully be as successful as my dad was in the ring, instead of always focusing on April 6th 2001, I wanted to put a positive spin and remember him for the incredible fighter he was and everything he did in the community… as the most amazing dad I have ever come across.”

Melo came to Canada at the age of six. At the age of nine, he started boxing. He turned pro at the age of 17, in Montreal. He had a record of 93-4, and became well known as “The Hurricane”. On April 6th 2001, he was killed in a parking lot in Mississauga. The gunman fled in a stolen vehicle

Since her father’s death, Jessica has been determined to help others in her father’s name. His death connected her to others who have also had to face such a horrific tragedy.

The concern, she tells Global News, is that a lot kids lack support and guidance after a parent has passed away, and as a result, some of them head down the wrong path.

So in order to help prevent that, Jessica created the Eddie Melo Legacy Organization. She said the organization is about “helping children who have lost a parent due to a homicide, so giving back to them and sponsoring them through athletics, academics, fine arts… anything that can help lessen the burden and give them support during such a tragic time.

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“It never goes away. You just learn how to navigate through the emotions.”

The Eddie Melo Legacy Organization launched on August 12th, 2017, with a boat cruise in Toronto, which will become an annual event.

Jessica says other events will be held in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, including several amateur cards for up and coming boxers to compete and fine tune their skills in the ring.

It’s something her father had been doing through fundraising efforts to support youth in his community. “I have a great vision for this and I know that when it reaches the people we are here to help; it is going to be life changing for them and for myself as well to see that we are doing something good on behalf of my dad, because I know that is what he would be doing if he was here”