Amazing — we’re blessed to recognize that we have been given another day to try and get our lives straight. It really hits you when you look up and realize it’s been 11 years since April 10, 2003, the day Carol Fitzgerald died of breast cancer. This past weekend, the 10th annual Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund (CFMF) celebrated the legacy of Carol’s life with the benefit at the Metropolitan Ballroom Friday night in Golden Valley and the celebration of her life and work Saturday at Martin Luther King Center in Minneapolis.
It’s not easy asking people you know and don’t know to trust you and help you with raising money and taking their time to benefit others. But that is what we are about with the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund.
It was great having my sons Larry Jr. and Marcus home as well as my three grandsons Devin, Jaylen and Apollo. Friday’s benefit featured a night to mingle with stars and be entertained by the talented group Chirch Crooner. The artist and band put on a dazzling performance for the large group on hand, with the help of masters of ceremonies Robyne Robinson and Sy Huff.
The Red Carpet featured Carol’s sons Marcus Fitzgerald and Arizona Cardinals eight-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald Jr., Vikings star 2013 Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph, and yours truly. Somebody important said everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die, and that is so true. Carol’s work in the community was tireless; she became a legend as an employee investigator for the Minnesota Department of Health dealing with the many families and loved ones with active HIV and AIDS and other STDs.
The Minnesota Department of Health released startling data on the number of 2014 cases identified: 70 percent new, active HIV and STD cases are in Hennepin County, and of those, 65 percent are in North Minneapolis. This is more than sad — it’s disturbing, because HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can be 100 percent prevented by wearing protection condoms and exercising smart, safe sex practices, especially using protection before having sex with someone who has had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
The Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund also awards grants in urban education and breast cancer. Since 2003 when I founded the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, it has been my mission to keep these important causes that were important to Carol on the front burner of our CFMF work. And thanks to so many of our friends and family who took the time and expense to help us.
Some helped by donations from Chicago, Arizona, Washington, Indiana and Atlanta organizations like the Minnesota’s own Starkey Foundation and CEO Bill and Tani Austin (So the world may hear), Minnesota Vikings Vice President Kevin Warren, Coca Cola, Jesse Swilky and Dino LePesio, Thor Construction, Ravi Norman, Stew Widdess, Dr. Josh Sandell, Agent Eugene Parker, USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, Dr. Jill Reilly, and (NFLPA) Dexter Santos.
Several hundred came out and supported us with our live and silent auction over both days at King Center in Minneapolis. KMOJ’s Ray Richardson was master of ceremonies, and Faye’s Home Style Catering did the catering.
We, the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund Board of Directors (President Larry Fitzgerald Sr., Secretary Kimberly Johnson Henry and Ray Peterson) awarded the following organizations CFMF Financial Grants for 2014:
In Education of Urban Youth — Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties Head Start Program, Connections to Independence, Horizons Youth Program at Sabathani Community Center, Lewis Sports Foundation, National Alliance of African American Athletes, New Beginnings Baptist Tabernacle (After School Program), Page Education Foundation, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Pilgrim Lutheran School, Plano Child Development Center, Xavier University Alumni Association of Chicago.
In HIV/AIDS Prevention and Support — Community Fitness Today, HAS Program/Health & Wellness Hub at HSRA, Pillsbury House HIV Health Education Program, Summit University Teen Center.
In Breast Cancer Prevention and Support — African American Breast Cancer Alliance, Butterfly 4 Life Network, and Pay It Forward Fund.
Again, congratulations to all of the above from the CFMF and Fitzgerald and Johnson families for the work you’re doing.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeat Sr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.
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