The dream of many football fans is to one day own a piece of memorabilia from their favorite team or player. Things such as signed footballs, helmets or trading cards. Myself, I own a piece of the AstroTurf from Texas Stadium which came from an off-season resurface in the 90’s. One fortunate person out there; however, will get the greatest collectible ever…life.
First, let me frame this story by stating that I’m a pretty big fan of Troy Aikman. In fact, every game day I still break out my 15 year old #8 jersey.
Aikman was an All-American quarterback from the UCLA Bruins, and in 1988 was widely regarded as the “Next Cowboys Quarterback”. This proved to be true as the Cowboys selected him 1st overall in the 1989 NFL Draft. Football fans in general know how instrumental that decision was to the success of the Dallas Cowboys throughout the 1990’s. He retired in 2001 as a Dallas Cowboy, and soon after he found himself in the commentating booth with Fox Sports. To put it mildly, Aikman is a Pro Football success story.
A Few of Aikman’s Pro Accolades:
- 6 Times selected to the Pro Bowl (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)
- 3 Times All Pro (1993, 1994, 1995)
- 3 Time Super Bowl Champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
- 1 Super Bowl MVP Award (XXVII)
- Walter Payton Man of the Year (1996)
- Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor (2004 Inductee)
The contributions Aikman made over his twelve seasons in the National Football League made him a first ballot inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. However; on April 7, 2013, the contribution Troy Aikman made could rank as one of his Greatest Achievements. Almost twelve years to the day of his retirement, he “signed the dotted line” and became a registered Bone Marrow Donor at a Delete Blood Cancer DKMS event. The event was held to raise awareness and to help provide a cure for Danielle Stephens, a Dallas mom of two.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society estimates over 140,000 people in the United States alone will be diagnosed with some form of blood disease. That’s one person every 4 minutes. Such diseases are known to affect the bone marrow, blood cells, lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system. Blood diseases are expected to cause the deaths of an estimated 53,010 people each year.
So here’s the promising news about blood cancers; in many cases, they’re treatable.
Even though he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Aikman did what anyone can do, he registered to become a donor; and afterwards, a simple swab test was administered. Without a whole lot of effort, Troy may have saved the life of someone diagnosed with a blood disease. Maybe Danielle’s life.