When John Abraham's mother was diagnosed with cancer during the spring, he had been all too familiar with the affects the disease can have on those suffering through it. Now that his mother has been declared cancer-free, Abraham is showing a tremendous amount of support for helping to find a cure.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga.— When John Abraham was playing for the New York Jets, he began to get involved with visiting and helping children with leukemia and muscular dystrophy.
As so often happens, Abraham grew close to one child in particular with leukemia and began a person friendship with the boy. Unfortunately, news soon came that the boy had passed away. Abraham was devastated.
While Abraham knew that he had the opportunity to be involved in helping to console children with the disease, he shied away from it because of all the hurt the death of his friend caused him.
This past spring, the disease hit Abraham even closer. His mother, Maggie, was diagnosed with stage-three lymphoma and immediately began a regimen of chemotherapy to fight the disease. Months later, things are looking great for Abraham's mother.
"She's doing good. She hasn't been able to attend a game yet because of the chemo, but the chemo is over with now and (the doctors) said all the cancer's gone at this point," Abraham said Friday. "She still has to stay close to home because some days she's feeling good, some days she's not, so it's kind of up and down. But as of right now, everything's completely gone."
His mother's illness has pushed Abraham to get involved again, and he's doing so in a big way. Abraham teamed up with Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the Blank Family of Businesses to get involved in the Oct. 9 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.
The first 100 people to register for Abraham's team, Maggie's Marchers, will have their entry fee paid for by Abraham.
"They don't even have to pay," Abraham said. "I just want them to come walk and show their support. I'll take care of the payment of them walking myself."
Because the Falcons will be in Cleveland preparing to face the Browns the night of the Light the Night Walk, Abraham won't be able to be in attendance, but he hopes that his contributions to the first 100 walkers on his team will more than make up for him not being there.
To show his more personal support for the cause, Abraham has been growing a beard to honor his mother. When his grandfather died in 2008, Abraham shaved all his facial hair off.
"If I shave my head, it's kind of pointless because I already shave it," he said. "This year, I said I'd grow my facial hair for my mom because she survived the cancer."
He's hoping many more cancer patients turn into cancer survivors, just like his mother, and that the Light the Night Walk turnout helps to achieve that goal.
"Hopefully," Abraham said, "everybody can come out and just enjoy themselves and just have a good time, just go out and walk and show support."
To join Abraham's team, Maggie's Marchers, click here and the follow the link near the top of the page that reads "The John Abraham Challenge - he pays for the first 100 walkers."