Former Jetstar Lions’ mission is to fulfill the wishes of sick children

New York (AP)-Marty Lions pauses, holds back tears, and clears their throat every time they mention a child who is no longer here.

Former New York Jets defensive lineman and longtime team radio analyst has said that too many young people entered his life and then robbed them (and their loved ones) of a bright future for cancer and others. I’ve seen him die of illness.

“That is, these are small children, but the pain that a family can endure for the rest of their lives can be unbearable because of the constant lack of a face,” Lions said in a telephone interview. “There is always a birthday to celebrate.”

But there are many other days to remember the lasting effects they have had in just a few years.

“Unfortunately these kids, who died at an early age, may be four, five or six years old, but they are teachers of the Game of Life,” Lions said. “They have a message. I remember the girl I met, she looked at me and said,” Mr. Marty, why are you crying? ”

“And because she said, I couldn’t get an answer.’I’ll be fine. I’ve already seen an angel.”

Lions have fulfilled their mission to fulfill the wishes of children between the ages of 3 and 17 who have been diagnosed with end-of-life or life-threatening illnesses (counting 38). He founded the Marty Lyons Foundation in 1982, and nonprofits have fulfilled more than 8,000 wishes, raised more than $ 35 million, and have grown to 10 branches in 13 states.

A 63-year-old former football star also has a new book called “If These Walls Can Speak: A Story from the New York Jets Sidelines, Locker Rooms, and Press Boxes.” Co-authored by Lou Sahadi, the book contains a story from 19 years of observation as a radio station as a member of the “New York Sack Exchange” with Jets after Lions played in Alabama. I will. It’s also full of inspirational stories about the young children he met along the way.

“I wanted to make sure that the readers understood that I had more than just being a soccer player,” said Lions, a member of the Jets Honor Circle. “Sure, I’m grateful for it. I’m very humble and honored to be part of the Jets organization, and I loved it every minute. But cancer Nothing is more important than talking about a crossover about children who died because of their childhood. “

Lions signed all of the proceeds he earned from the book directly to his foundation. It started after the most emotionally demanding week of his life.

His eldest son, Rocky, was born on March 4, 1982, and Marty’s father planned to fly to New York to meet his grandson. Leo Lyons died of a heart attack on March 8 at the age of 58 and never traveled. While attending his father’s awakening in Florida two days later, Lions called home and Keith, the younger brother of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, was shy and leukemia for just two months on his sixth birthday. Died in.

“So within six days I was challenged,” Lions recalled. “I kept asking myself, what am I doing wrong in my life? Why does God do this to me? And why the more I ask me, the more I actually I came to understand what I was saying to. Why not someone else? “

But Lions didn’t want anyone to feel the pain he was experiencing. So he talked to Jets teammate Kenshroy about what he could do to make a bigger difference.

From there, the Marty Lions Foundation was born, and the two continued to brighten their toddlers’ days by visiting Disney World, welcoming celebrities, fulfilling their wishes for computers, pools, and staying there for their families. I am. The darkest times.

“He took that passion from his days of play and turned it into a passion for children,” said former Safety Schroy, a Lions Jets teammate from 1979 to 1984. “It’s amazing to see him interacting with so many children. We went to many hospitals where the children were fighting for their lives. It was easy. It was hard to help them fight the disease.

“And Marty, he just wears his heart on his sleeve. He always did. He’s just a great guy.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hampered the Marty Lions Foundation’s ability to fulfill as many wishes as usual. A virtual silent auction is being held through the site from November 27th to December. 11 Help raise funds to fulfill more wishes.

Lions quickly distrusted his Foundation’s work and claimed that it was a group of staff, friends, and volunteers who helped him build it as it is today. This book allowed him to recognize them while influencing the reader.

“I got replies from people.” When I read the book, I noticed that I was laughing and I was crying, and at the end of the book I was inspired. ” Lions said. “I know I’m writing it, it was an emotional roller coaster.”

Laughter in the changing room and playground. Tears fell on the children and their families. And lessons learned over 38 years.

“My dad loved life,” Lions said. “But if I had to tell him,’Dad, you’ll die so I can start the Foundation and help all these kids,’ he said. Let’s do it. Give me another glass of cigarettes and another glass of beer. I am fine. It doesn’t get rid of the pain. But when I started the Foundation, it was a way for me to move forward, as life never stopped for any of us.

“When everything was told and done and you looked back on your life and what you could and achieved, the biggest question you could ask yourself was, did I influence you? ? “


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Former Jetstar Lions’ mission is to fulfill the wishes of sick children

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