NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans hosted their 2nd annual Taste of the Titans fundraiser benefitting the ALS Association Tennessee Chapter Wednesday, June 13th at Nissan Stadium. The unique event raised $125,000 to support local Tennesseans living with ALS and their loved ones through research, services and education.
As guests arrived they were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Titans home locker room and were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Titans QB Marcus Mariota, DT Jurrell Casey, T Jack Conklin, WR Corey Davis, C Ben Jones, CB Adoree' Jackson, CB Logan Ryan, RB DeMarco Murray, OLB Brian Orakpo, TE Delanie Walker and LB Wesley Woodyard.
The ALS Association Tennessee Chapter supports people living with ALS and their loved ones through localized care and resources throughout the state of Tennessee. Their mission is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.
"We are a million-dollar organization annually and if we hit our number tonight of $100,000 which we projected to get, 10% of everything we needed to raise this year will come from the support of this one event," said Steve Wallace, CEO for ALS Association Tennessee Chapter. "We couldn't make these things happen on our own. The Titans, Nissan and all of the sponsors here this evening have really stepped up and said this cause is really valuable to us and it's exactly why we want to be a part of what we're doing."
The Tennessee Titans hosted "Taste of the Titans," raising $125,000 for the ALS Association, Tennessee Chapter. (Photos: Lynne McCracken)
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, it robs patients of the use of their hands, arms and legs, as well as their ability to speak, swallow and, ultimately, breathe on their own, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population.
The simple fact is, ALS can strike anyone, anytime.
Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw has taken on one challenge after another head-on, from his playing career to his battle with ALS. Shaw, played from 2010-12 with the Titans and was diagnosed with ALS in 2014. The Titans have supported Tim on his journey since his diagnosis and it has become Tim's mission as an ALS advocate to inspire and help people look at their lives, change for the better and pursue a life of purpose.
"Tim is one of those special and unique people that really does bring the message of hope that touches and is very clear to everyone. Many times, Tim doesn't have to say anything, he just is who he is," said Wallace.
Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith emceed the evening and hosted a Q&A session with Titans General Manager Jon Robinson and Head Coach Mike Mularkey who answered guests' questions about the upcoming season and the team's new on-field synergy.
"It's a disease we are trying to find a cure for and help Tim Shaw and others that are affected by this disease. Anything we can do, especially with this gala, to help find funds to add to the research is very important," said Robinson. "Tim's very charismatic and life has dealt him a tough set of cards. He lives life to the fullest each day."
"We've always had a relationship with the ALS but it got bigger last year obviously with Tim joining our football team and getting signed to a one-day contract. Myself and the Titans donate every time we scored a touchdown and we hand a ball to a Titan fan in the stands. It's important to us that we continue the relationship with ALS," said Mularkey.
"Nissan has been great to us, certainly for this event, for the stadium, for the community, the jobs they brought here. They are a powerful company and we're glad to be partnered with them," said Robinson.
"The Titans are an incredible partner for Nissan and the 12,000 employees we have here in the middle Tennessee area," said Jeremy Tucker, vice president, marketing communication & media at Nissan.
"Tonight we are celebrating our community, our relationship with the Titans and the very important mission of the ALS organization."
Shaw was presented a house resolution which passed unanimously through the general assembly and was signed by the Davidson County delegation acknowledging his efforts and support for ALS and Tennessee representatives.
The evening was complete with fun activities including player autographs and photos with Titans' cheerleaders, viewing and photos with the Heisman Trophy, entertaining greenscreen photos, a silent auction teeming with all types of unique goodies ranging from guitars autographed by county music artists to autographed Titans items and delicious hors d'oeuvres followed by an endless buffet.
About ALS Association Tennessee Chapter
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting ALS on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.ALSTN.org.