Like many athletes in this generation, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is a frequent user of Facebook and Twitter; the main difference between him and other athletes is he’s using these social media sites for more than just entertainment purposes.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver is using these social media sites to interact with fans about The DeSean Jackson Foundation For Pancreatic Cancer on his new site Foundation10.com —a site created in honor of his father who passed away from the disease in 2009.
Jackson is urging fans to simply take a few minutes of their time to spread awareness about a disease that has not only affected his life, but the lives of millions of others.
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas and is the fourth leading cause of death in men and women. Every hour, four people die from the horrendous disease, which is almost equivalent to 100 people each day. Not only does this have an effect on the individual, but the families and friends surrounding them as well.
DeSean’s father, Bill, was officially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the Eagles’ playoff game against the New York Giants in 2009. Ever since they were young, Bill’s dream for his two sons—DeSean and Byron—was to play football at a professional level.
Bill knew his sons were blessed with the type of talent that would take them to a professional level. He wasn’t afraid to push his sons the extra mile with the dream of his boys playing in the NFL one day. Eventually, his dreams came true.
While Byron managed to play two seasons on the practice squad for the Kansas City Chiefs before taking on a career in film, Bill was fortunate enough to watch DeSean breakout as one of the top wide receivers for the Eagles during his rookie campaign.
One of his favorite memories was the miraculous 62-yard touchdown reception in the NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals that gave the Eagles their first lead of the game after trailing 18 points at halftime.
Philadelphia may have lost the game, but it held a special place in Bill’s heart to watch his son perform at that level at such an early point in his career.
The fact that DeSean caused nothing but headaches for opposing defenders and played such a key role in the Eagles’ passing game was nothing short of a dream come true for a father who wanted his son to succeed in the NFL more than anything in the world.
Byron said it best during one of the trailers for his upcoming documentary—The William Jackson Project —when he described his father’s joy at watching his son shine in the NFC Championship game as greater than witnessing him win the Super Bowl.
Watching DeSean succeed after a career full of critics telling him he would never make it as an effective wide receiver was one of the happiest moments of Bill’s life. Even NFL analysts suggested teams should stick away from drafting him in 2008.
Obviously, all those analysts were wrong.
Shortly after Bill passed away in May 2009, DeSean’s mother, Gayle, suggested her son take advantage of his celebrity status by establishing a foundation in his father’s memory.
With a strong supporting cast, Jackson and his family are determined to do everything they can to help find a cure for a disease that has killed 39,000 of the 47,000 people diagnosed with it in 2009–especially when it comes to using social media sites.
Torrey Pocock consults in Social Media with Colonial Downs and The Virginia Racing Commission and is an executive in Advertising, Media Training, and Marketing at Torrey Charles and Willner out of Washington D.C. He has worked with DeSean for almost two years and manages his website, merchandise, social media, and fundraising.
Like Jackson, Pocock realizes the potential of using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about pancreatic cancer to his fans.
“DeSean’s affinity group is his fans, Pocock said. “It’s because he’s popular, we can easily reach out to 50,000 fans within a minute and let them know what we’re doing for the cause. He wants to make sure people know that Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream can also be used for serious issues, not just for having fun.”
Along with his personal site DeSeanJackson10.com , Pocock has helped Jackson find success in raising awareness for pancreatic cancer through his Facebook page —which is nearing 14,000 fans—and his Twitter account —which consists of over 19,000 followers.
He’s also done his part by helping DeSean and his family promote the upcoming Inaugural DeSean Jackson Foundation For Pancreatic Cancer Gala and Speed Camp that will take place on May 14 and 15.
One of the best features about Foundation10.com is the interaction with fans. Jackson knows he’s not the only one affected by this disease, which is why he’s dedicated a section to allow fans the opportunity to share their stories regarding loved ones and pancreatic cancer.
The sites have not only played a major role in spreading the word about the new fundraising site, but the disease in general. Jackson and Pocock hope the fans can take part in their 10-10-10 campaign by spreading the word about pancreatic cancer with the hope of helping others catch the disease early enough before it’s too late.
“We’re asking people to help 10 friends,” Pocock explained. “We’re asking people to help support it with $10. We’re asking people to spend 10 minutes on the website and learn a little bit more about it, read some stories, and join so that we can communicate with you later.”
“As much as it is a silent killer, maybe one of those emails we send out reminds people to check with their doctor about this—and maybe somebody catches the disease early and it helps them.”
Fans can learn more about pancreatic cancer and The DeSean Jackson Foundation For Pancreatic Cancer at Foundation10.com
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