After hanging up his baseball cleats earlier this year, Tim Tebow motivational speaker is even more in demand. He recently began his speech at a benefit for people with autism by telling a story that actually downplayed the importance of athletics.
“What you’re doing is greater than any game or championship or trophy than you could ever win,” said Tebow at the Samuel C. Robinson Aces for Autism Fundraiser.
The eighth annual event, held at the Greenville Convention, drew over 2,000 attendees.
Before COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the event, Tebow, who played for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets before pursuing a career in baseball, was set to deliver the keynote speech at the group’s annual benefit in 2020.
His foundation, founded in 2010, hosts special needs proms in hundreds of cities around the world. The organization also provides playrooms in hospitals, surgeries for children in the Philippines, orphan care, and grants to families that want to adopt children with special needs from other countries.
“It’s really easy for us to forget (people with special needs). It’s really easy because most of the world has forgotten,” said Tebow.
Tebow then told the story of a young boy named Sherwin that he met on a mission trip when he was a teenager. Three boys walked away from the missions’ team while other children swarmed around them. Tebow followed them and discovered that one of the boys, who had a foot deformity, had been driven away by local leaders. The local leaders did this because they did not think the Americans would be “impressed” if they saw him. The child was said to be cursed in his village. So, he would not be alone, his friends had accompanied him.
Tebow, who has a passion for athletics, said that something shifted that day.
“I knew that I had a new calling and a new purpose in life,” he said. “I knew driving down that mountain that a game didn’t mean as much anymore.”
Tebow is the youngest of five children born to missionaries serving in the Philippines. His family has gained international notoriety because of his mother's refusal to get an abortion despite suffering from amoebic dysentery during her pregnancy. In Greenville in 2014, Pam Tebow presented that story at the Carolina Pregnancy Center's Celebrate Life banquet.
The Tim Tebow Foundation started hosting "Night to Shine" proms the same year, and hundreds of area youth and adults with special needs have participated over the last three years.
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