These alarming statistics are more than just numbers to N.B.A Pro and Business Executive, Larry Hughes. These statistics are part of his reality and the core of the Larry Hughes Foundation.
“The commitment to push organ awareness is so important to my mother and I because we understand what goes along with having someone who is need of a transplant. We lived through it and experienced the struggles that come along with that kind of situation. It is an emotionally and financially difficult situation to be in. I just want to make life easier for another family or another child.”
Larry Hughes’ younger brother, Justin had struggled with a heart defect since his birth. At the age of 11, Hughes’ brother was a recipient of a heart donation that extended his life for nine years. Justin lived to see his 2oth birthday. This was six years ago on December 18th.
“I learned so many things from Justin. He taught me to be a fighter and always continue no matter what challenges occurred. He really taught me to make the best out of every situation.”
Time has passed but Justin’s strength and courage has left an irreplaceable impression on how people view organ transplants today. Justin also left his eternal light of hope. This light is what Larry Hughes carries inside of him as he illuminates hope in the mindsets of patients who are consumed by the darkness of death and despair.
“I feel like it is my duty to get the message out about how vital it is to be a donor. I know that there are people who are living on a prayer- that they will survive or live longer because someone cared enough to give to them. It is my mission to increase the number of donors.”
Larry & his mother, Vanessa Hughes who created the Larry Hughes Foundation have consistently worked to raise awareness about organ donations while educating people about the extreme need of potential organ transplant donors. The foundation has been the seed of hope that has bloomed life and awareness into our social climate and is changing the perception of transplantation. The essence of Justin’s spirit is indelibly printed through every aspects of the Larry Hughes Foundation.
The foundation is also a resource to financially assist families and children who have organ related issues or need help with burial costs and more. Hughes’
In early 2012, Donate Life launched its“20 Million in 2012” campaign. The campaign was an effort to register 20 million new people to state organ and tissue donor registries. Through the new campaign, Donate Life America chose to recognize present athletes, teams and other role models within the sports community who have demonstrated remarkable support for organ, eye and tissue donation. Larry Hughes embodies every element of what a role model is and is the pure reflection of what Donate Life America represents. Donate Life America is nationally recognizing Hughes for his commitment to increase the number of registered organ donors while educating the community about transplantation on December 19th during the Saint Louis University Billikens’ Basketball game at 7 p.m.
Hughes will join the list of other National Donate Life Champions such as pro-golfer Erik Compton; NFL analyst and retired quarterback Boomer Esiason; Wake Forest University’s head baseball coach, Tom Walter; the Arizona Diamondbacks;
“I am honored to receive this award because it means that we are getting the message across and people are recognizing this,” said Hughes. “If I could ask anything from my fans I would ask them to please help me raise awareness about organ transplants and help me get as many donors registered as possible.”
For those who have lost someone, the opportunity to heal the wounds of grief can only be bandaged with the hope of saving someone else. Like the peak of his eternal light, Justin’s spirit continues to glow through the high altitudes of service that has defined Larry Hughes as not just a successful athlete but a successful humanitarian and advocate. Not even time, seasons or dark conditions can take away the glow of a light that strong. Justin Hughes left all of us his strength. His Cardiologist, Dr. Ian Balfour states that “to sustain another human being’s life by promising to become an organ donor is the greatest gift you can give someone.”
Fans of Larry Hughes and other sports figures are encouraged to join their state donor registry in their honor, to be known as a FanForLife. Each FanForLife has the potential to save up to 8 lives through organ donation and improve the quality of life for up to 50 people through eye and tissue donation. To join your state registry visit: www.donatelifeamerica.org. also visit www.Larryhughesworld.com