As a child Rodney McLeod dreamed of playing pro football. His grandmother shared that dream and supported him in every way possible.
As a senior in high school, Rodney was devastated when his NaNa was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and ultimately died of the disease. She died before seeing her grandson play for the University of Virginia and then make it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent playing for the St. Louis Rams.
“Her ultimate goal was to see me graduate high school, go off to college, and pursue my lifelong dream of making it to the NFL,” he said. “Unfortunately she was unable to see all that, but every time the national anthem is played I look up, knowing she is always watching over me.”
On March 9, 2016, Rodney signed a five-year free agent contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. In Philadelphia, he has looked to honor his grandmother’s memory by supporting the American Association for Cancer Research’s mission of preventing and curing all of the many types of cancer. He’s recently become an official ambassador for the AACR.
“So many lives have been lost due to cancer, everybody is affected by it,” he said.
Recently, Rodney told The Philadelphia Inquirer that his goal in supporting the AACR is to “draw more awareness, donations, anything that can help provide researchers with more money” to help other families from experiencing the same loss he felt because of cancer.
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