Jason David Talks Kidney Disease
As a former New Orleans Saint and member of the Super Bowl XLI Champions Indianapolis Colts, Jason David is using his career and talent as an effective tool to reach out to the community, particularly youth.
On June 28-30, 2012, Jason David will host his fourth annual Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit his Jason David’s Corner Foundation.
The cause dearest to David’s heart is kidney disease. Inspired by the death of his cousin Segun “Shay” Ukome Moruka, who passed away from kidney disease in 2007, all proceeds from the Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament will go toward increasing the awareness and research of kidney disease in order to promote prevention and ultimately find a cure.
Athlebrities was honored to speak with David about his unwavering commitment to give back to his community as well as his efforts to prevent kidney disease.
Q: On your website it says ‘Jason has continued to learn the importance of remembering where he came from, giving back and being a positive role model to every community in which he encounters.’ Where did you come from and why is this important?
“I grew up in a small town in southern California called Covina. My family and I were on the lower end of the middle class growing up, and didn’t have very much. Growing up in the lower end of the middle class, you sometimes get trapped and begin to think that this is how life is supposed to be, because you are not used to anything else. It is important to me to give not just kids, but families hope. Coming back to the community lets people see that you can make it, that even if you are in this place or your family is struggling with this and that, you can be successful.”
Q: You started hosting your annual golf classic after your cousin Segan passed away from kidney disease, could his death have been prevented with a transplant?
“My cousin Shay had a kidney transplant, his mom being the donor. That kidney failed but it gave him some more years to live but it wasn’t the answer. I think that it could have been detected much sooner, by checking his blood pressure. This year we will have clinical volunteers offering prescreening at both events. The prescreening will consist of a basic health questionnaire, height, weight, and blood pressure measurements. Individuals identified in need of a full screening will be contacted and referred for the Free Kidney Disease Screening Day in the Fall of 2012.”
Q: Common misconceptions about donating a kidney?
“I think the biggest misconception of donating a kidney is that the donor will not be able to lead a normal life.”
Q: You also support Leukemia efforts, and positively influencing youth and single parent households. Firstly, why Leukemia, is there a personal connection, and secondly, did you grow up in a single parent household?
“Yes, I grew up in a single parent house raised by my mother along with my older sister. My family and I were close with a small family in my community whose daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. That’s when I begin my philanthropic efforts geared towards Leukemia.”
Q: Who were your role models growing up?
“I looked up to successful athletes growing up and to my cousin Shay.”
Q: Do you feel that celebrities are sort-of morally obligated to give back to the community? Why or why not?
“I don’t think so at all. If that was the case then there would be more charity work being done in our communities.”
Q: In your experience, and aside from yourself, which other professional athletes are great examples of giving-back due to personal connections or simply giving back because they sincerely care?
”My guys Hamza and Husain Abdullah as well as Darnell Bing are great examples of giving-back. I think much of the giving back is done with sincerity. They all have their own causes and they always support my events as well.”
Q: Your upcoming event is now in its fourth year, any success stories you can share which stem from your ‘giving-back’ via events etc?
“Each year has been its own success story. Being able to have a fundraising three day event that has made it to its fourth year in this economy is huge. The goal is to raise money for the research and the awareness of kidney disease. Each year we have been able to contribute to different entities and families which has been a great success.”
Q: Part of the weekend’s events will include the Youth Football Skills Camp at the Charter Oak High School, what’s it like to play with the kids at a school you attended yourself? Were there any ‘famous’ athletes that held camps while you were attending?
“It’s a lot of fun coming back home and seeing the kids so happy to be around and learn from the pro camp counselors. It’s very special to me because a lot of these kids will never go to a pro football game let alone meet one. I never attended any free camps at my high school let alone in my town, so it’s a special time for me and for the people in the community.”
Q: I find that some of the most creative and inspirational ‘leaders’ have come from poverty, would you agree? Why or why not?
“I don’t think that poverty has anything to do with being a leader or being a successful. The only thing that poverty does is humbles and makes you appreciate things a bit more than most people.”
Q: Who do you think are the best, and worst, celebrity golfers?
“Phillip Palmer (news anchor from ABC7) is a really good golfer, he is the best I’ve seen. I am probably the worst golfer. ”
Q: Finally, if you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Don’t worry, Be Happy.”
As always, thanks for reading~