Retired New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich has overcome quite a number of hurdles throughout his life.
In 2009 while at Boston College, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a rare type of bone cancer. Despite the diagnosis, Herzlich was determined to resume his football career and did so in 2010. A year later, he was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent and went on to win a Super Bowl in his first season.
Herzlich spent all seven years of his professional career with the Giants, leaving the NFL prior to the 2018 season.
Now, at the age of 35 and with the game of football firmly in the rearview mirror, Herzlich has dedicated his life to helping others. He recently joined the International Justice Mission (IJM) with the intent of eliminating modern-day slavery.
“IJM combats human trafficking and modern-day slavery by basically partnering with governments to rescue victims. They restore the survivors and restrain criminals, and then they work to repair justice systems in the different areas that they go to,” Herzlich said, via People.
“IJM was partnered with the conference and hearing some of these things that were happening to women and children around the world, it moved (my wife and I) in a way where we wanted to know what we could do to help.”
Herzlich and his wife, Danielle Conti, began donating to the IJM in 2015 but felt they could do more. He now takes over as their director of athlete and influencer partners.
“I’ve always felt like there was a way to use our sport to really change the world, and not necessarily through just watching it on Sundays. But this is a way that I was able to use the platform that I built for a real purpose that can help people everywhere,” Herzlich said.
This summer, Herzlich will compile a group of athletes from the NFL and NBA that will travel abroad.
“We’re going there to see the work that’s being done, going to a shelter to meet with the children there,” Herzlich said. “We’ll see the country and let the athletes see where the dollars they’re donating go. I think one of the cool parts that these athletes get to do is to go to these offices in these different countries and do the work that’s being done by the staff.”
Among those slated to join Herzlich this summer are retired Dallas Cowboys fullback Tyler Clutts and retired New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson.
So far, over $16 million has been raised by athletes with each rescue mission costing roughly $8,800. If you feel compelled to donate, you can do so by clicking here.