The stalwart offensive tackle of the 49ers teams that won Super Bowls in 1989, ’90 and ’95 and former teammate Ronnie Lott in 1999 created Champions Charities, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness of brain tumors and benefiting children and families in need. For the fourth consecutive year, Champions Charities will host a gala Saturday, with the proceeds of the performance of “The Color Purple” furthering the foundation’s goal of raising $10 million by 2010.
What was the genesis of this foundation? Both my parents passed from brain tumors. I decided I wanted to really do something — research, building patient services — and I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job of getting the word out there.
Can you talk a little about your how your parents were affected and what this means to you? For any family to go through it once is really a tragedy. To go through it twice, it’s very difficult. It affected myself and my family, my brother and sister. [Through this] you hope you can do a little good and lessen the blow to them.
What has been the biggest reward personally from this foundation? I think the Bay Area and the people we’ve reached out to have been very supportive. It’s very early in the process, but more and more people live a little bit longer with brain tumors and there is more success battling brain tumors. Putting a smile on peoples’ face and showing that you care, that’s the biggest reward so far.
Why choose a theater production to send the kids to? Both my parents were theater lovers, so putting something like this together was the right thing to do.
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