While the weather was more suited for football, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman raised money for his Cornerstone Foundation by hosting a 5K run/walk Saturday at Soldier Field.
Nearly 600 runners braved snow showers and temperatures in the 20s to take part in the inaugural event. One of the participants was Bears chairman George H. McCaskey.
|Charles Tillman is the Bears' all-time leader with nine defensive touchdowns.
Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke also participated in the run. He said he was on hand "because he's my player No. 1 and he's going to go down as one of the all-time great Bears."
"Since I got here in 2009, it's been really a privilege to coach the guy," Hoke said. "He's obviously done great things on the field, but the things he's done off the field are even more amazing. So any chance I get to support one of our players, I'm going to take that opportunity."
Since Tillman created the Cornerstone Foundation in 2005, his efforts have impacted over one million Chicago-area children and raised more than $1 million.
The foundation began by providing children with educational opportunities and resources to excel in the classroom. But after Tillman's three-month-old daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and received a life-saving heart transplant in 2008, the Cornerstone Foundation changed its mission to improving the lives of critically and chronically ill children.
The Cornerstone Foundation's programs include "Charles' Locker," "Field of Dreams," "Holiday Celebration," "Mother's Champagne Brunch" and "The Tiana Fund."
Charles' Locker provides pediatric hospital patients with access to iPads, laptops, gaming systems and other kinds of entertainment to help pass the time during their hospital stays and annually reaches more than 370,000 children.
The Tiana Fund has distributed more than $1 million to over 300 families who have been identified by local organizations as at-risk or in-need. The support is provided to families and individuals to strengthen their ability to care for themselves, enhance their stability and security, and improve their quality of life.
Tillman and his wife, Jackie, also contribute their time and resources to local, national and international organizations outside of the Cornerstone Foundation. The Tillmans have helped build a school in Cambodia, sponsored children through the Urban Promise program in Camden, New Jersey, and have purchased and donated over 700 tickets to Bears home games since 2008 through the Bears Home Team Hand-Off program.
Tillman is also an avid supporter of the military and has participated in a USO tour to Iraq, volunteered with the USO of Illinois on Thanksgiving to serve meals to local troops, and provided soldiers with tickets to Bears games.
Tillman's charitable efforts earned him the 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award last month. He received the prestigious award from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL Honors awards show the night before the Super Bowl at Radio City Music Hall in New York.