Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie to ever be elected to the Pro Bowl, but that accomplishment meant something much bigger for a complete stranger.
Because Lindsay didn’t ink a big time deal with the Broncos out of college, fans set up a GoFundMe page to show their appreciation and send him to the Pro Bowl themselves.
Fans donated nearly $5,000, but Lindsay didn’t take the money for himself. Instead, he donated it to 63-year-old Les Thomas, an Air Force veteran with Stage 4 chronic kidney disease who was being evicted by his landlord after missing rent payments due to ongoing medical treatment and hospitalizations.
“I have no family, no one to help me,” Thomas told The Denver Channel in early February, which is how Lindsay decided to do his part. “If I don’t have a place to live or some place to go, the VA is never going to give me my surgery.”
Once Lindsay let his fan base know what was going on, another GoFundMe page was set up directly for Thomas. At the time of this writing, almost 400 people have donated $20,719.
“He was recently stricken with stage four renal kidney disease and is fighting to avoid ending up in a dialysis chair,” the page reads. “His condition has recently worsened and he is now retaining fluid in his lungs and around his heart. It has been discovered that he has developed damage to the lower left ventrical of his heart. This is being coupled with a serious hypertension problem and problems breathing, and at this time he can not walk more than 25 to 30 yards or up a flight of stairs without serious breathing complications.”
With Thomas being unable to work, Lindsay’s donation and social media calling for followers to kick in a few buck if they could was a game changer.
Who says an athlete can only leave his or her mark on the field?