Russell Wilson had a great year by most reasonable levels. He finished the year with 3,475 yards, which has increased each of his 1st 3 years in the league. He had 20 TDs and only 7 INTs, his lowest total yet. He had an unbelievable year with his legs rushing for 849 yards and 6 TDs with no fumbles lost. And most importantly, he made the playoffs for the 3rd straight year and was one play away from his 2nd Superbowl. There aren’t too many things that Wilson can complain about, but when you realized what Wilson had to go through to make it this far, and how he is off the field, the story of Russell Wilson, the human being, is so much larger than his on field stature.
When Russell Wilson was a senior in high school, he was 5’11 180 lbs, only a 2 star recruit, and really was only looked at by Virginia Tech, Duke, and NC State, which he accepted to go. Wilson played 3 years with the Wolfpack and decided he wanted to play baseball, where he was a good baseball prospect. Wilson was granted a release from his football scholarship at NC State. He then transferred to Wisconsin, where he led them to a 9-3 record and a Rose Bowl appearance against Oregon.
Because Wisconsin was known as a rushing team, and Wilson still had a small frame, he was not looked at as a top prospect in the 2012 NFL draft. He was projected as a middle round pick and when he was taken in 3rd round, #75 overall, he still wasn’t looked at as a potential starter. However, Wilson didn’t listen to the critics, worked hard as usual, and won the starting job for the Seattle Seahawks out of camp even though they had signed Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson that same offseason to be the starter.
Fast forward three years later, and Russell Wilson has a playoff appearance in every year of his career and totaled a playoff record of 6-2, with one Superbowl ring and one play from a 2nd. The rest of the story is history for Russell Wilson. Everyone knows that part about Wilson’s life, but the part that people may not know about is the Seattle Children’s Hospital that he visits every Tuesday for the last 2 years for the cause he promotes heavily named “Strong Against Cancer”.
Strong Against Cancer is a group effort of doctors, nurses, researchers, hospitals, companies, and others who are supporting what they hope is a medical treatment breakthrough against the deadly disease. The treatment being used in this case is call immunotherapy, which enables the body’s own immune system to heal itself without some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, which is normally used to fight Cancer. The process allows the physician to take blood, program the T cells to recognize the cancerous cells, and then put them back inside the patient’s body to fight and kill off the cancer cells.
Wilson has taken a “Team Captain” role and promotes the cause on twitter with the hashtag #StrongAgainstCancer in an effort to raise money for the group. Wilson learned of the group two years ago and has dedicated himself to going to the children’s hospital every Tuesday, with very rare missed visits. Wilson’s visits at a hospital were not abnormal to him as in 2010, his father passed away after a long battle with diabetes. Wilson learned how having someone around in a time of weakness can help a person’s spirits. Wilson believes that being around will help give the kids hope and can help them feel comforted.
Athletes catch a lot of flak for the bad things they do on and off the field, but not enough credit for the good things they do that isn’t publicized as much. Wilson, after what was probably the toughest game he’s lost in his life, did what he does every Tuesday, and showed up at the same Seattle Children’s hospital to be with the kids that he fights for. It’s just what he does and what his father would have wanted him to be, a leader, a man of his word, and most importantly, a true man.
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