INDIANAPOLIS -- Reggie Wayne's fondness for children is easily evident. Whether it’s his own kids or ones screaming his name at training camp or after games.
The Indianapolis Colts receiver’s heart softens up even more when children who are dealing with adversity are involved.
That’s what happened when one of Wayne's friend told him about an unfortunate little girl who lost her battle with brain cancer in January at the age of 2.
“She really didn’t have a chance to live life because she died at such a young age,” said Wayne, whose voice lowered on the phone as he talked about the young girl. “These kids have their lives cut short, so you want to do as much as you can to help.”
Wayne, whose season was cut short because of torn ACL in Week 7, is doing what he can to help children battling cancer. He’s hosting a charity event at a downtown Indianapolis restaurant this month where all of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society childhood cancer research.
“I did a little research on the situation and did research on the little kids that were dealing with cancer and how many of them lose their lives on a yearly basis,” Wayne said. “I checked up on the American Cancer Society’s children program and saw where 15,000 children up to the age of 19 will be affected with it and 2,000 of them will lose their lives. That’s a struggle for me.”
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children, according to the American Cancer Society. About 10,500 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year, with about 1,300 of them expected to die from it, according to statistics on cancer.org.
Wayne lost an aunt to cancer and Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia during 2012 really touched the receiver. Wayne violated the NFL’s uniform policy by wearing orange gloves and an orange mouthpiece, the color that signifies awareness for leukemia, during a game against Green Bay in 2012 in honor of his coach.
Wayne is bringing some of his teammates to event where they’ll take pictures and sign autographs for fans. There will also be a silent auction at the event.
“Sometimes life isn’t fair,” Wayne said. “If there's one thing I can do, it's that I can go out and help as much as I can. Even if it’s just two cents, you want to put your two cents in the pot. This is for a great cause. Everybody knows me real well and knows I love the kids. I want them to smile and have fun and enjoy life. ”
How many people would Wayne like to attend this event?
“As many as can come,” he said. “I want the fire marshal to show up because we have too many people there. I do know that it’s something a lot of people are concerned about and want to help out.”