01/29/2013 06:54 pm ET Updated Mar 31, 2013

My Amazing Experiences Off the Field

It's getting close to one of my favorite days of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. And if the playoffs are any indicator, Super Bowl XLVII is gearing up to be a monumental match up. Playing in that championship game is one of the most incredible experiences a pro-football player can have during his career -- there's truly nothing that can quite compare. But I've also had some of my most amazing experiences off the field. One of the biggest perks of being in the NFL is that you're in a position to help people. When I visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., for the first time I met kids who were fighting for their lives, and it was incredible because they all had smiles on their faces. I found out that's because they had hope. That's when I knew St. Jude was a place like nowhere else... and a place I had to support.

In 2011, I helped launch the St. Jude Game Day. Give Back. program to raise funds to help St. Jude continue to provide the best care to some of the world's sickest kids at no cost to their families. Game Day. Give Back. brings fans of all ages together around the sport they love [football] to help support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude. I'm proud to say that in just two years, thousands of parties hosted by fans across the country have raised more than $2 million.

Game Day. Give Back. helps kids like my buddy Marion. Marion is a 9-year-old who has been battling a brain tumor since 2011. Let me tell you, this little guy is tougher than most of those guys who will step out on the field Feb. 3. He's endured chemotherapy, radiation and lots of physical therapy, but that hasn't slowed this football fan down at all. When Marion watches football, it's an interactive experience. He yells at the players and cheers when his team (the Patriots... I know, I have some work to do on him) makes a touchdown. Thanks to the treatment he received at St. Jude, Marion's tumor is now stable and he's back in the game. St. Jude not only saved Marion's life, but his family will never receive a bill from St. Jude because no family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives.

I know that almost everyone has plans for the big game, and anyone can help. It's simple. When your friends and family members come over to watch the game (or the commercials), just ask them to donate what they can to St. Jude. You'll be surprised at how quickly those small donations add up to something big, and for the kids at St. Jude like Marion, your support is priceless. There's no greater way for your family and friends to make game day about something more. Register your party for free and gain access to tailgating recipes and other information that will help you get started.

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