I was raised by two people who brought me up to appreciate the good things I have in my life—and to show the gratitude I have for my family and friends, my health, and my career by giving back. In honor of #GivingTuesday, the global movement to inspire generosity, I wanted to highlight an organization near and dear to my heart: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude does so much in an effort to find the cures and means of prevention to knock out childhood cancers and other catastrophic pediatric diseases with research and treatment. Working with them over the past nine years has meant so much to me; and even after all my years playing professional football, I swear I’ve never met stronger, more resilient people than the amazing St. Jude kids I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with. These incredible young people always lift me up and inspire me, too. I made some awesome new friends on the set of the latest St. Jude PSA, which you can check out above.
Take for example Paishence, a 16-year-old patient at St. Jude who was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2012. She’s undergone years of grueling physical therapy and guess what her secret weapon is for creating good vibes before she heads into a treatment session? Music. You all know how powerful I think the right music can be to get your day and your mindset moving in the right direction, and so I wanted to share a little bit of her story with you. An aspiring DJ, Paishence was selected as one of St. Jude’s first patients to share a playlist with Apple Music, which you can check out here.
“My mom used to play ‘Darling Girl,’ by Yolanda Adams, all the time when I was little. She would sing it to me around the house, and I still love that song. She always played different types of music, so I have eclectic taste because of her. I like to listen to everything from EDM to 90s rock to gospel music. Anything with a beat … When you’re going into a physical therapy session, it helps to have the right mindset. So it’s good to listen to something upbeat with a positive vibe to put you in an energetic mood.”
To make a donation to St. Jude in honor of #GivingTuesday, visit stjude.org.