Inside The Bills

T.O.’s award acceptance speech

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2009 – 12:30 am

Knowing coverage of the Alzheimer’s Association banquet in which Terrell Owens was to be the recipient of the Young Champions award Wednesday night in D.C. for his tireless efforts in the fight against Alzheimer’s was going to be limited, here is the Buffalo wide receiver’s acceptance speech from this evening. Congrats T.O.

I’m extremely honored to receive the Young Champions award. I would like to thank Harry Johns and all of the chapters who are on the front lines of this huge effort.  Thirteen years ago marked a high point and a low point in my life. I started playing professional football in 1996. And that was the year my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At a time when I was flying high, that news brought me right down to earth. And it was really rough.

My grandmother pretty much raised me from when I was a young all the way up to college and a couple years after that. She was a church-going, God-fearing woman.  I was my grandmother’s shadow, so it’s not surprising that throughout my life she has been my motivation, my strength, and my rock. In my senior year of college, I started noticing that she kept repeating things.  At the time I didn’t make too much of it.  Of course, that was the beginning of her downward slide.

I visited Grandma Alice whenever I could, and for a long time, she would always recognize me. I’ll hold those memories forever. Now she’s in a special assisted living facility in Alabama.

Alzheimer’s may have taken away the woman my grandmother once was — and that’s the cruelty of the disease —but it can never erase the pictures in my mind or the feelings in my heart.

That’s why I am committed to help raise the awareness of the disease for the Alzheimer’s Association . . . to get the word out . . . to do whatever I can. I’ve supported local efforts in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.  The Association knows that it just has to say “Hey T.O.” and if it’s humanly possible, I’ll be there for them.

I accept this award in tribute to my grandmother. We all want a world without Alzheimer’s, and I’m committed to working with the Alzheimer’s Association toward that goal. Thank you.


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