Forget football for a minute. There is much more to life than quarterback controversies and trade rumors. Jalen Hurts put it on full display in fulfilling a Christmas wish for a young family affected by childhood cancer.
The second-year quarterback — and possible future of the Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise — donated $30,000 to a family of fans he met through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for them to use toward a new home. Hurts reached out to the charity organization, per founder Liz Scott, and asked how he could get involved.
Scott connected the NFL star with seven-year-old Erick and his four younger siblings who were living in a two-bedroom trailer in Nottingham, PA. Hurts surprised them around the holidays to present them with a check and hang out for the day.
Erick gave Hurts a hand-drawn picture and the Eagles quarterback promised to hang it up in his locker. It was a tearful and heartfelt gesture that no one will soon forget. Here is how Hurts described the moment:
A moment like that for me, just going in there and meeting everybody, it was fun. I think what amazes me is how the kids don’t even realize maybe what they’re dealing with, the circumstances they’re in but they’re just happy to be living. The fun things I remember from this day .. obviously the reaction, just spending time with Erick and his siblings. Throwing the ball. Paying catch outside. Signing his jersey. Signing the ball. He gave me a nice picture. He took time out of his day to draw me a picture. I really appreciate that. I’m going to hang up in my locker as soon as I get back.
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Remembering the Blue Backpack Last Summer
Hurts charity work is nothing new. Remember, the feel-good blue backpack story from training camp? Hurts had seen a photo of a homemade backpack bearing his name after it was tweeted out by the mother of six-year-old fan Alexander August. The Eagles quarterback made a duplicate backpack, only he switched the name Hurts for Alexander and put it on his Twitter timeline. Boom. Viral.
Hurts later explained that the photo resonated with him because he remembered going to Houston Texans training camp as a child and interacting with NFL players. He wanted to pay it forward.
“Now to have the same platform in a sense and to be able to touch so many people, I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can,” Hurts said, via the Eagles official website. “It’s a blessing that means the world to me. That’s what it’s all about — giving back, showing love, and helping others. That’s what it comes down to. That’s the rent we pay to live on this earth.”
Why did Alexander pick Hurts as his favorite player? Well, it was simple: “He can throw, he’s fast and he’s smart.”