Tuesday, May 13, 2014

11 Times Athletes Did Awesome Things

I love awesome stuff like this, where Mental Floss details real stories of real athletes making a real difference.  Check out the link for all of the good stuff, but here are my favorites:

Chris Seitz
In 2008, MLS goalie Chris Seitz—along with the rest of his then teammates at Real Salt Lake—registered to become bone marrow donors as a show of solidarity for his teammate Andy Williams' wife, Marcia, who was battling leukemia. Four years later, while playing for FC Dallas, Seitz got an email—he was a match for a dying patient. Would he be willing to donate bone marrow?
The 25-year-old talked to team officials and doctors about the procedure. It was an invasive surgery, requiring doctors to poke two holes in his lower back, then fish 32 needles through each of those holes to remove fresh marrow from the core of Seitz's bones. Recovery typically isn't too arduous, but no one knew for sure how it would impact Seitz's athletic career, which often requires him to fall on the very bones that would be affected.

Seitz opted to go through with the procedure, even though he ended up missing the rest of the soccer season.
Adreian Payne
Adreian Payne was one of several Spartans who visited 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth in the hospital while she was battling cancer, but he developed a particularly close friendship with the third grader. The Michigan State basketball player called her his "sister," and brought her on the court during senior day and the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. She came with him to the end-of-year banquet and cheered him on in the Slam Dunk contest. Even when Lacey couldn't make it to the games, the two texted daily.

Three days after Lacey succumbed to the neuroblastoma, Payne attended the John R. Wooden Award gala where he was awarded the first Outreach Award. "She wouldn't want me to be sad," Payne said during his acceptance speech. "It's hard."

Lamarr Woodley
When the Steelers linebacker learned that the Saginaw Public Schools in his Michigan hometown were charging a $75 fee for students to participate in sports, he reached out with an amazing offer. Because of the fees—which were designed to make up for budget cuts to the athletic department—the school reported decreased participation in sports. But to ensure the costs wouldn't fall on the kids and their families, Woodley donated $60,000 to cover every student-athlete in the district.

“Because of this, kids will have an opportunity to participate, an opportunity to be part of a team. People don’t understand how important that is," said Saginaw High athletic director Dan Szatkowski.
Josh Zuchowski
"I have looked up to you since I was seven," Josh Zuchowski wrote in a letter to his friend and rival, Reese Branzell. Of course, the two competitive swimmers are just nine and 10 years old, respectively, but it's still touching.

The occasion for the praise came last December, when Josh noticed Reese missing from a meet. The older boy had been hospitalized since November with a hip infection that left him unable to compete. Josh told his parents that if he won that day, he would send his trophy to Reese—and went on to do just that. "I would rather get second with you at the meet, then win with you absent," the note said.
They're all good, so go hit the link.  It's stuff like this that makes you believe there are a lot of good folks around, doing the right things for the right reasons.

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