In Depth: Boyd Melson

October 8th, 2012

 In June of 2002, 20-year-old West Point cadet Boyd Melson walked into a bar in White Plains, NY, where he spotted a young woman in a wheelchair and, purely to brighten a moment of her life, decided to ask her to "dance." Her friend blocked Melson's path, denying him access, but he persisted. When he knealt and looked into Christan Zaccagnino's eyes, the connection was instant: They were a romantic couple for the next six years and remain inseparable friends today.

But the story becomes much richer. Melson, a pro boxer with a 10-1 record, has donated every penny of his prize money to a quest to help Christan, and others like her, walk again through the scientific miracle of stem-cell research. Nowadays he commutes every work day to his full-time job -- 90 minutes in each direction -- at Johnson & Johnson, still somehow finding time for his boxing training.

 He and publicist Matt Yanofsky also have formed "Team Fight To Walk" (, a coalition of professional fighters that includes Steve Cunningham, Shawn Estrada, Demetrius Andrade and Deandre Latimore), all of whom have dedicated themselves to finding a cure for spinal-cord damage causing paralysis.

Melson joined us Sept. 7, 2012, to tell this riveting story of selfless philanthropy.

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