Regular readers know that I have an affinity for professional football. Sometimes I take it much too seriously. I’m not proud of it, but that’s why they call us fanatics, right? Every Monday, one of my favorite writers, Peter King, comes out with an article about all the happenings around the NFL. On a day, known for being the bane of many people’s existence, Monday morning is a surprising bright spot in my week. What makes Peter King a great writer, in my opinion, is that he draws you into his life. He’s not afraid to talk about his daughters, his experience at the latest Starbucks, or a particularly annoying plane ride. I love that even though I don’t have kids, drink coffee, or fly often, I still feel like I can identify with him – and that’s why my writing tends to have some of the same influence (so some people tell me, though I think they are being much too kind.)
It’s pretty rare that I can share any of his writing with my readers, because football and personal finance – not exactly something that fits together. Last week, was one of those rare occassions. This year he’s added a new wrinkle to his column, each week he picks out a NFL player or personal who gives back unselfishly. One week he pointed out that Jason McKie contributions to the military (giving tickets and even meeting the family before the game). Another time, he wrote about how the Kurt Warner family – at a restaurant – will pick out an family and picks up the tab for them anonymously. He does this to show his children the joy of giving – knowing that he is blessed.
This is a long-winded way of saying that I think I’ve found my second favorite Kelly in Peter King’s column last week (you’ll need to scroll to the Good Guy of the Week section). Jim Kelly, the guy who may be best known for losing 4 Super Bowls, may just be one of the people who saves your child’s life someday.
He lost his son, Hunter, from a rare brain disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy in 2005. It turns out that this can be diagnosed at birth. According to the article there are 53 other fatal diseases that can be diagnosed today – and Minnesota is the only state that tests for them all. Kelly lobby’s the states to try to get them to test for all of them. While we can buy a kit that will do it for $100 (some of the best money I think I could ever spend), he wants everyone to get them for free. He makes a good business case as well since treatment of many of these diseases, though rare, is can be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars… per year. He’s already saved the life of one child and correctly points out that it’s worth more than Super Bowls.
The only problem I had with the article is that the editors didn’t link to Jim Kelly’s organization, Hunter’s Hope. (I’m giving King a free pass on this one.) When you have a popular website, you should understand the tremendous value a link has vs. just stating the website’s URL in the text. Readers don’t want to read a URL and have to cut and paste it into the URL bar – so are doing them a disservice. It’s why linking was invented in the first place – and one of the reasons why the web is such a powerful medium. I can see if you might not want to link to a competitor, but a charity that helps children? Poorly done, CNN. I hope you see this and go back and edit your story to give them the link that they deserve.