Ten years ago on April 10, 2003, we lost a great woman, Carol Fitzgerald. Thanks to great support from our community locally and nationally, we continue her work. With major spending cuts across the United States in funding the fight against HIV-AIDS and breast cancer and for urban education support, many voices are not being heard.
Last Friday, April 12 at the Metropolitan Ballroom on a cold snowy evening in Golden Valley and Saturday, April 13 at Martin Luther King Park in Minneapolis, we carried on the mission to do our part with your continued help, through the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund (CFMF). Big Sy Huff was master of ceremonies; Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter, my sons All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. and Marcus Fitzgerald, and yours truly spoke passionately about the work of Carol Fitzgerald.
During Carter’s Viking career, I had the fortune of covering one of the greatest, most competitive stars in franchise history. It was during a time my sons were becoming pretty good football players. It also was during a time when I faced a great challenge in my career: I was fired by KFAN Radio from my three-year mid-day radio job.
Cris Carter went on live TV and radio and said, “The brothers in this locker room will no longer do interviews with KFAN Radio.” For me personally, it was one of the strongest showings of support publicly by a star athlete to the controversial firing. My family was very grateful. I went on to later sue KFAN for discrimination and won a large settlement. And for the next eight years, I hosted and produced then-Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green’s radio shows.
Carter was very helpful in mentoring Larry, Jr. and Marcus while they were Vikings ball boys. Carter will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer in his home state of Ohio. He’s a top ESPN commentator now on NFL Countdown.
Friday’s entertainment was provided by the talented songbird Jamacia Bennett — she was outstanding. NFL Fritz Pollard, award-winning NFL Head Coach of the Year, Leslie Frazier, and Vice President Kevin Warren were also there and spoke about the impact of the Fitzgerald family and our continuing work in the community through the CFMF.
We also announced the 2013 CFMF grant recipients in prevention and support (breast cancer): the African American Breast Cancer Alliance, Butterfly 4 Life Support Network, Pay It Forward Fund, and the Scottsdale Heathcare Foundation. In HIV-AIDS: Community Fitness Today, HAS Program/Health & Wellness Hub at HSRA, Pillsbury House HIV Health Education Program, and the Summit University Teen Center. For education of urban Youth: the African American Adoption Agency, Connections to Independence, Horizons Youth Program at Sabathani Community Center, the Kwanzaa Community Church Education Program, the Lewis Sports Foundation, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, the Davis Scholarship Fund, the National Alliance of African American Athletes, Oak Grove High School, the Page Education Foundation, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Pilgrim Lutheran School, the Plano Child Development Center, Summit Academy OIC, and the Xavier University Alumni Association of Chicago.
Saturday at King Park we celebrated community by awarding the aforementioned organizations with their financial grants. The entertainment was provided by Ray Richardson of KMOJ’s “Back in the Day.” Larry, Jr. had his autograph signing, and many young people got to see and talk to him and realize that dreams do come true.
Thank you again for supporting the 9th Annual Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund. If you would like to help us, please forward your donations to CFMF, PO BOX 19177, Minneapolis, MN 55419.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to [email protected], or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.