CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When a local mom was given a national platform, she didn't only see it as her moment in the spotlight. She saw it as her chance to highlight a subject important to so many across the country.
When it’s not school and homework, time together between 12-year-old Cayden Beukeman and mom Jenny of Clarksville includes comic book stores and video game stores. The usual. What’s perhaps not as usual is how people know Cayden’s mom.
She is MMA fighter Jenny Savage.
“I am Tennessee’s only born and raised bare-knuckle boxer female,” Savage smiled. "Makes an interesting career day."
“It’s pretty cool, I like it," Cayden added.
The name "Savage," where’d that come from?
“From the Macho Man Randy Savage!” Savage said. “Randy Savage looked like he is a champion no matter what.”
That’s something Savage is working to pass down to Cayden.
“We come here to train,” said Cayden, speaking just before boxing training with his mom. “I actually kinda like it.”
These are great memories being made with his mom, just like Cayden’s made so many great memories with his dad, Richard Beukeman.
“We used to have this place at my grandma’s house, there was a shed," Cayden remembered. "We’d hang out there and call it the dude cave. We had a connection, a bond.”
Cayden told us those first months of the pandemic were really hard for his dad, when downtowns were quiet and people were isolated in their homes.
“He was depressed," Cayden said. "He's a social person. In 2020, he took his life. I don’t wish for anyone to lose someone that important to them.”
“This pandemic is far more intense than just a virus," said Savage.
For her son, and in memory of her son's father, Savage decided there’s something she needs to do. She’s using interviews she gets from her platform as a fighter to talk about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
“It should be spoken about a lot more," she said. “I believe fighting is a metaphor for life. Nothing hits us harder than life. It’s about getting back up and continuing. We’ve all at one point in our life felt like we wanted to give up.”
“Yeah, I’m really impressed with my mom," Cayden said.
“We don’t give up around here," said Savage. "We give it all we got. That is what it means to be a fighter, to keep going.”