Passing Along Good Fortune
Holiday Hearts, hosted by The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, is one way professional football player Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, give back to their community.
For the Muskopf family, and for other families like theirs, attending Holiday Hearts is an opportunity for quality family time.
“As a parent of a child with a terminal illness, we are trying to create as many memories in Brody’s short life as we can so that we have wonderful memories to last a lifetime,” said Brody’s mom Ric Muskopf.
Where It All Began
Andy and Jordan Dalton always knew they wanted to give back. Andy, a successful professional quarterback, got his motivation from a college coach whose granddaughter had been diagnosed with cancer. Andy learned she was a fan, so he reached out to offer his support. “I wanted her to know she was not alone,” he said.
Jordan’s inspiration came from friends who are special education teachers, and from her life experiences with service organizations.
In 2011, they formed The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation and provide opportunities, support, resources, and life-changing experiences to families with seriously ill and physically challenged children. “This experience (meeting the young girl with cancer) is what really inspired the mission of our Foundation.”
“I’m getting to live out a dream that I have wanted since I was a little kid, and these little kids are just fighting for their lives,” shared Andy. “When you see the smiles on these kids’ faces, regardless of what you are doing on the football field, it doesn’t matter.”
Enjoy Being a Kid, and Not Being a Sick Kid
This past December, the Andy Jordan Dalton Foundation hosted Holiday Hearts to help families from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital enjoy a night away. Seventeen families enjoyed a fun holiday-themed evening with Andy and Jordan, including dinner, karaoke, holiday treat-making, a bear building station, games and presents. Each family received a family gift and Christmas tree along with additional gifts from their wish lists. Best of all, families were able to spend quality time with each other, something the Daltons cherish during the holidays.
Ric Muskopf couldn’t agree more. “These events have been so meaningful because they involve our whole family and not just our sick child,” she said. “They can enjoy being a kid and not being a sick kid.”
“For my husband and I, seeing our children happy is the greatest gift of all. These memories as a family are unforgettable, and we are so grateful,” said Ric.
For the Daltons, it’s being able to make a difference. “You really see the direct effect the Foundation has on families. That’s where my heart was when we started the journey. They’re so appreciative of anything that can be done,” said Jordan.
For more information about the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, which is supported by State Farm, please visit andydalton.org or visit them on Facebook.
*Photo credit: Greg Burnett, Robert G Foto