Super Bowl week is here, and the traveling Super Bowl-A-Thon is rolling into town!
Eighteen years ago, the Super Bowl-A-Thon was created and had traveled alongside the Super Bowl ever since. This year the Super Bowl-A-Thon will be at the Bowlmor Lanes in Atlanta, GA. Super Bowl-A-Thon was created to help raise awareness about autism. Talk About Curing Autism is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting the families of those who are affected by autism. They aim to speed up the times between the detection and diagnose of autism and when treatment begins.
The organizers of Super Bowl-A-Thon are former NFL greats DeShaun Foster, Michael Boley, Roddy White, Keary Colbert, and their mothers Cheryl Foster, Marilyn Pointer, Jonathon White, and Berma Colbert. Michael Boley, who has two sons of his own with autism, has been an inspiring voice in spreading autism awareness, and the Super Bowl-A-Thon bowling event does exactly that.
It isn’t just bowling events, and these footballers, that are helping to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder. The former running back from the Carolina Panthers, DeShaun Foster, and his mother, Cheryl, have also boosted awareness about autism by hosting a football camp for the past eight years. It was during football camps that DeShaun first noticed how many children with special needs attended in support of other family members. DeShaun realized that there wasn’t anything tailored to these children at the time so decided to change that with the creation of the Foster’s Challenger Flag Football Camp for children with developmental disabilities.
This year the group went for a different approach and had partnered with former Atlanta Falcon, Roddy White (RW Keep the Faith Foundation), and his mother, Jonethia White, to bring awareness to epilepsy – something which Jonethia herself suffers from. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures.
A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have had two unprovoked seizures (or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more) that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition. Often, the cause of the seizures is completely unknown with no apparent triggers.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it’s estimated that about twenty to thirty percent of children with autism will develop epilepsy once they reach adulthood.
“Whenever you step outside of who you are to do things to help other people, to me that’s something that says I truly love you and I am here for you,” Cheryl said. Her compassion for others rang even louder. “Even if your world seems perfect, there are other people that are struggling with the same things every single day, but we don’t get to see that. The least we can do is create something that can give them feel good moments.” A day of laughter, fun and relaxation with some of the NFL’s greatest is certainly a day to remember for many families.