Willie Colon Golf Outing in NJ scores funds for lupus research

Former NFL player's event has raised over $2.3 million in 10 years

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by Mary Chapman |

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A number of former NFL players joined 2009 Super Bowl champ Willie Colon this past week for the 10th anniversary of a golf event that is anticipated to raise $450,000 this year for the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) to support the fight against lupus.

The annual Willie Colon Golf Outing, held in honor of Colon’s late mother, Jean Davis, who had lupus, has raised more than $2 million to date for lupus research, according to a press release from the LRA. The funds raised will support the alliance-run Jean Davis Research Grant, a lupus-focused initiative named for Colon’s mother, and other research.

“We first teamed up with the Lupus Research Alliance ten years ago to host this event because we knew funding research is the best way we can make a difference,” Colon said. “My mom so appreciated seeing all our friends and teammates show up at this golf outing in her honor. I know she would be thrilled to know we have already raised well over $2.3 million and still going strong.”

According to the release, the fundraiser altogether has scored $2,370,488 “and counting.”

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Colon, a longtime LRA board member and an analyst on “The Carton Show” on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), won Super Bowl XLIII while with the Pittsburgh Steelers and later played for the New York Jets. He was joined at the Summit, New Jersey, fundraiser by some 300 golfers as well as FS1 colleagues Craig Carton and David Jacoby.

Also featured at the sold-out event were former NFL players Justin Tuck, who played for the New York Giants; David Harris, Brian Winters, Matt Simms, and Erik Coleman of the New York Jets; Mike Adams, of the Carolina Panthers; Barrett Brooks, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles; Trai Essex and Darnell Stapleton of the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Adalius Thomas, who played for the Baltimore Ravens.

According to the LRA, Colon expressed appreciation for the event’s six organizers, who included Xavier V. Goss at Capital Group; Ted Knauss at PNC Financial Services Group; Daniel LaVecchia at BGC Partners; Nidhi Patel at BlackRock; and Julius D. Williams at Invesco. Praises also were extended to the fundraiser’s primary sponsors, which included Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Tunnel To Towers Foundation, the Willie & Aikisha Colon Foundation, and the Corona & Constellation brands.

The LRA is the largest nongovernmental nonprofit funder of lupus research globally.