Like mother like son, or in DeShaun Foster’s case, like parents like son. DeShaun was one of the many players who showed up to support Super Bowl-a-thon, thrown by Cheryl Foster along side The Professional Football Players Mothers Association- PFPMA in Phoenix, Arizona. Super Bowl-A-Thon supports Autism Speaks as well as our Military Troops.
The event was a huge success, over 200 people showed up to demonstrate their support. Cheryl said it perfectly when she reminisced on, “how touching it was that each athlete came out and fully supported the event. It was so gratifying to look out across the bowling lanes, and see the athletes and the mothers interact with the children and military, as it seemed like they were having just as much fun if not more than the kids and service men and women.” There was no shortage of fun to get involved with while at the Super Bowl-A-Thon. There was of course, bowling, a silent auction, a gifting suite including products from Gemstone Organic and Dr. Miracles, two buffets, book signings by Dante and Renetta Wesley, and a photo booth just to name a few.
As you skimmed your eyes across Bowlmor Lanes, you might pick out Erin Escobar bowling alongside her son, Gavin Escobar, tight end from the Dallas Cowboys, accompanied by the beaming smiles of an autistic family. Erin Escobar expressed her sheer pleasure, “in seeing the tremendous outpouring of support from the players, as they had many other appearances to make during the Super Bowl, but they took the time to come out and be not only involved, but fully entrenched in the relationship building aspects as well.”
If you think you are strong, sit and talk with the support system for an autistic family. I had the pleasure to sit with Renata Irving, mother of Sam Irving, a 25-year-old gentleman, who has autism, and is one of the most astounding individuals you will ever meet. Sam draws striking photos of landscapes, lighthouses, and so much more, he has held his own art show, and even displayed and sold his pieces during the Super Bowl-A-Thon. He uses his talent as a form of expression, and donates much of the proceeds to Autism Speaks. Renata gave me chills, when she answered my question of “Can you progress when you have autism?” Renata answered, “Absolutely, I would never dream that a boy who couldn’t carry a loaf of bread could bowl a 176,” and that’s what Autism Speaks is supporting, the power of knowledge, the power of research, we can only make things better if we understand what we are working with.
It’s the little things in life that create the most joy, for Marilyn Pointer, mother of Michael Boley, it was having the outpouring of support for a charity near and dear to their hearts, as Michael has two sons both diagnosed with Autism. It’s seeing mothers like Berma Colbert, mother of Keary Colbert, come out and help. For DeShaun, it’s having the military troops present, as his father served in the military, and without all their sacrifices we wouldn’t be able to live the lives we cherish today. Speaking of sacrifices, there was an incredibly brave gentleman present who received a purple heart.
Super Bowl has become a compilation of back-to-back events. This year with Pro Bowl occurring the week before, in the same stadium, events were jam packed for two weeks. Super Bowl could be all about the media, press conferences, practices, and the two teams involved, but what was most endearing, was the fact that not only was football the topic, but these athletes, these moms, these organizations used the platform to support charities, to give back. DeShaun said it nicely, “my parents instilled in me to always give back, volunteer, be appreciative for what you have and extend opportunities you have been presented to others.” And as I walked into different charity events, like Super Bowl-A-Thon or any others, or even read about them or watched them on television, I saw big names and faces doing just that, I must say it’s quite refreshing.
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