While New York Jets QB Tim Tebow has been in the news for attending the recent Met Gala in New York, it turns out he isn't the only player attending galas. Jets CB Ellis Lankster recently attended the Stuttering Foundation Gala on May 8th in honor of National Stuttering Awareness Week.
Lankster, who stutters, has not let that get in his way. He says, "God made me a star football player who stutters for a reason. So I can help other people who stutter."
In a press release I received, the Stuttering Foundation announced that Lankster was presented with the Foundation's "Converting Awareness into Action" Award for everything he has done to inspire those who stutter.
Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation, stated, "Ellis shows his true toughness by sharing his struggles with fluency as a child. He refused to let his stutter keep him from his dream of playing professional football, and he is committed to helping and inspiring children attain their dreams by overcoming the obstacles they face."
Stuttering, according to the Foundation's website, is a communication disorder that causes things such as abnormal stoppages in speech or words broken by repetition. It affects more than 68 million people worldwide and over three million in the United States alone.
For many children, stuttering can be a difficult battle to face and many children suffer from being picked on. Having a celebrity and professional football player who has lived with stuttering play such an active role in awareness is amazing. Lankster shows children that stuttering does not mean you can't live your dream. Lankster is proof that anything is possible.
While the media in New York and across the nation may focus on Tim Tebow and the role model he is, Lankster is just as much of a role model for so many children and adults living with a stutter. My hats off to him for all the work he is doing to make a difference. It would be nice to see a lot more NFL players making headlines for stories like this.
The Stuttering Foundation was founded back in 1947 by Malcolm Fraser and celebrates its 65th anniversary this year.
Resource: Press Release from the Stuttering Foundation
Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and avid football fan. She is a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the NFL and Olympics. She has followed the Denver Broncos since she was a child and became a fan of Tim Tebow during his run as a QB for the Broncos. She looks forward to following his career with the New York Jets this season. Follow her on Twitter at @fwcdeborah.