Mark Herzlich honored by United Way at Gridiron Gala

Posted May 18, 2017


Few professional football players have had a journey quite like Mark Herzlich’s.

In 2009, prior to his senior season at Boston College, Herzlich contracted Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. The doctors told him he had a 10 percent chance of survival, and that if he did survive, he would spend the rest of his life with a limp, meaning his football career was over.

Herzlich didn’t just survive cancer, he conquered it. The New York Giants linebacker is now a seven-year veteran in the NFL. He’s spent his entire career with the New York Giants, winning Super Bowl XLVI with Big Blue in his rookie season.

Herzlich remains an inspiration to those battling cancer, and continues to advocate for cancer research. In recent years though, he’s added a new purpose to his repertoire – fighting back against domestic violence.

Mark and his wife Danielle are volunteers for a variety of domestic violence awareness groups, including My Sister’s Place and the Joyful Heart Foundation. Herzlich starred in several PSA’s for the Joyful Heart’s “No More” campaign which aids survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

For all of his work on behalf of ending domestic violence, Herzlich was honored by the United Way of New York City at this year’s 24th annual Gridiron Gala, as the recipient of the Hometown Hero Award. The event helped raise over $2 million for low-income kids across the five boroughs.

“Danielle and I have traveled across the country for the last couple of years teaching children about healthy relationships, preventing violence in marriages, and talking to people about how we can stop violence in America,” Herzlich said during his acceptance speech. “That is what the goal is, and that is what this is all about.”

The Giants’ linebacker met his wife while he was battling cancer at Boston College. During his speech, Herzlich opened up about how the couple first met, and her own past as a victim of domestic violence.

“I’m up here today and I have a Super Bowl ring on as well as another ring on,” Herzlich said. “The Super Bowl ring gives me the platform to do the things that this ring has called me to do.”

To learn more about the United Way of New York City, click here.

You can learn more about Mark and Danielle’s work with the Joyful Heart Foundation here.

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