NFL Role Model- Larry Fitzgerald, WR Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald, Over-Achiever in Giving Back

11/24/13 in NFL   |   brindalinck   |   13 respect

Nov 17, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) tries to get by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans (26) after catching a pass in the fourth quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

     When I started this series on role models in the NFL, I had a few players already in mind. I wasn’t sure how I would choose the players to highlight afterwards. Thankfully, I shared with my new friend, Chris Manus, that I was writing this series. He told me who not to write about (I will not mention who he said, but he’s a quarterback, and plays for a team that mascot is an animal that might or might not start with a B), and then he mentioned I should really take a look at Larry Fitzgerald. The first thing I decided to do was follow Larry on Twitter. It’s wonderful that an athlete is doing great things off the field, but I also look for how they interact with their fans. I was not disappointed! I will write more on that later.
     As I wrote this, Larry is in area to play my hometown team (last weekend). It seems that each time I write about a player, there is a Florida connection. Tim Tebow was raised in Jacksonville and played for the Gators, David Nelson played for the Gators, Santonio Holmes was born in Florida, Cecil Shorts III plays for Jacksonville, and now Larry is actually in town as I write. If I needed confirmation that I was supposed to move back home a little over a year ago, I think this might just be it.
     Larry Fitzgerald, off the field, is a very busy guy! I was amazed at all of the different ways he is plugged in. I am not sure I can do him justice! I will highlight a few of them that tugged on my heartstrings. He has created the “First Down Fund”. This fund helps to provided activities for kids during the summer and throughout the year, support families and kids in times of trouble, and assists health-related charities that in turn, help families. Kids and families are his passions!
     One that is very personal to him is the donations made to breast cancer charities. His mother, Carol, passed away from a brain hemorrhage while being treated for breast cancer in 2003. This past October, during Beast Cancer Awareness Month, Larry and the “First Down Fund” gave donations based on his number of touchdowns and receptions. I know I am not the only person that has had a friend or family member with breast cancer. I’ve had three dear friends fight and win their battle.
     Larry has also made trips to the Middle East to visit U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is nothing more important to our military than support, whether they are stationed halfway across the world, or in our backyards. As a mother to a daughter serving in the United States Coast Guard, this support is immeasurable. I am miles away Grand Haven, Michigan, but I know her community will be there if she needs them. I believe these are ways that being more like Larry could touch countless lives.
     As for Larry’s fan friendliness on Twitter, I would say, follow him immediately! (@larryfitzgerald) One tweet that stood out to me was three days ago. Someone tweeted that they had been depressed lately, and were not sure what to do about it. Larry could have easily past this one right by and not responded. But he took the time to tell the fan one word; pray. This was the right response. Larry’s faith is important to him. And it shows.
     If you would like to learn more about Larry’s foundation or donate to his many worthy causes, go to God bless you Larry for making a difference in the lives of countless people and mine!  
     As for my readers, if you know of other football players that are unsung heroes of the NFL, please feel free to let me know who they are. This has been an incredible journey! I keep imagining a world if we would all give back.    
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