[Photo, of Megan Fong, Duane Zehr, Bradley University]
Original Run Date on WCBU/Peoria Public Radio: March 3 & 4 and September 8 & 9, 2018.
This story sheds light on a true measure of the value of sports.
Since 1993, ESPN and the late Jim Valvano’s V Foundation for Cancer Research have awarded over $170 million dollars in research grants.
Jim and Andrea Thome are benefactors of Children’s Home + Aid, an organization supporting families and childcare in Illinois. Additionally, the Thomes donated $100,000 for tornado relief in Washington, Illinois.
Thousands of recipients are helped by groups such as NBA Cares, Major League Baseball Charities, and the NFL foundation.
In a smaller but no less committed effort, Bradley University honors a fallen student athlete in a way that extends benefits far beyond the university walls and our sports venues.
Former women’s tennis player Megan Fong passed away in 2002 after battling leukemia.
Megan was diagnosed just two months after participating in the second Athletic Department blood drive.
Re-named, the Megan Fong Blood Drive has gathered over 579 pints of blood since 2006.
Make no mistake; losing Megan is no less painful regardless of those exceptional results in blood donations. We’d much rather have Megan with us, donating and collecting at our annual drive, than merely doing good in her name.
The quality of an athlete’s heart is not mapped primarily on the stat sheet or in wins and losses. Whether on the court, field, pitch, or floor, our true champions give their all and beyond.
And as for fans, we don’t just cheer victories and lament defeats. We join together to honor the memories of athletes who inspire us. By doing so, we raise sports from life metaphors to humane actions.
Until next time…for Stories Beyond the Scores…I’m Chris Reynolds.
Jimmy V Foundation
Thome’s Washington IL donation
Children’s Home + Aid
Megan Fong photo: Duane Zehr, Bradley University