I Love Giving Back
Stepping into the professional sports arena gives you the opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives beyond just writing a check to a charity. I have given money, raised money, and raised awareness for all types of charities across the country. All charitable situations affect you, and it always feels good when you can give back.
One particular event that had a profound affect on me was when I got a phone call from a friend in Minnesota telling me the story about Jack Jablonski, a 16 yr old hockey player hit from behind that left him paralyzed. Many people do not know that my sister-in-law, Cheryl, is paralyzed, so as I listened to what happened to Jack, I felt an immediate reaction that I needed to go visit him! My greatest fear as a hockey player was an injury like this, but it never stopped me from loving the game or playing the game hard and full of passion. I was hard hitting for my size and I took a lot of hard hits, and I walked away from the NHL basically unscathed after playing 20 years at a speed that most considered reckless.
Tracy and I were in Florida at the time of the accident, and we diverted our trip home to go meet Jack Jablonski and let him know he would have my personal support. We arrived in Minnesota at the hospital to meet Mike, Leslie, and the younger brother, Max Jablonski, who greeted us with hugs and massive amounts of courage. They were amazing, despite the fact they were living every parents nightmare. When I stepped into Jacks room I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous and definitely shook up, but Jack’s smile and attitude changed everything, It changed me. Jack is a great inspiration for me. He has handled his situation with such determination which I admire greatly. I love this kid.
Jack has now become my buddy. We talk on the phone regularly, do radio spots together, and I attend his galas and events to raise money for the Jack Jablonski Fund. Check it out at www.jabby13.com.