We are beyond grateful to have been announced the NFL Canada's FAN OF THE YEAR!!! We are completely humbled by the nomination and feel extremely blessed to have been chosen by a panel of judges to be the FIRST PLACE prize winners, receiving a prize of $30,000!!!! Honestly, we are so happy to serve in our community that this was the last thing we ever expected or dreamed of. We are just happy to be active community members helping us all to grow together as a more inclusive place for all people.
Since you're here - Here's how the story unfolds, as well as all the media links to the interviews.
Waaaaaaaay back in February I got a message from my friend Jen saying she was going to nominate CHF for an award - which she had done in the past so I really thought nothing of it (other than grateful for her in thinking to nominate us for anything). She never said what the award was and I didn't think to even ask!!
A few months went by and I had completely forgotten about it. Until one day a couple weeks back, I got a text from Jen asking if I would meet up with her to give her some info on CHF. I remember thinking to myself, "strange that she wants to do a face-to-face right now?"
We arranged a meeting a week later. She says NOTHING!!! Small talk until she excuses herself for a minute and I can hear her on the phone. I still think nothing of it. She comes back in and hands me the phone. Tells me someone wants to speak to me...Whomp whomp - I literally am so confused I am not processing information at this point. I grab the phone and it's Nate Burleson.
Former wide-receiver for the Detroit Lions and current co-host of Good Morning Football and Extra. I was so thrown off guard, and to be honest I did not know who he was. I definitely knew he was someone but I couldn't place him. I thought football but I wasn't sure. Of course Matt knew exactly who he was and is a HUGE fan!!! As I come to find out, most people are huge fans of Nate. He is a super cool guy that is very active in community work and loves giving back.
So here's me, on the Zoom with Nate Burleson, sweating A LOT and he says to me Jen's nominated me for NFL Canada's Fan of the Year contest. He wants to hear more about the charity so that the panel can make their final decision. SO I AM PUMPED to get to tell him about the charity and what we do at CHF. I felt like I won already!
THEN HE PROCEEDS TO TELL ME....
WE ARE THE WINNERS OF THE NFL FAN OF THE YEAR CONTEST and we will be receiving $30,000!!!!!
There are no amount of words I could type to accurately reflect the emotions I was feeling in that moment. First, I though it was a joke and then it settled in and I was in shock. Over the next few days, before the news broke, I just felt grateful. Matt and I have a great life. We are so happy to serve in our community. We love our Down syndrome families and ALL our community partners. We have deep passion for stepping out into the community and helping to create inclusive spaces. We are honoured to do this work everyday.
I think it goes without saying the gratitude we have for my friend Jen is the maximum amount. The fact that she thought to nominate us for this award that she saw pop up in her Facebook page is incredible!
It’s not everyday NATE BURLESON Facetimes you at work to tell you you’re NFL CANADA’S FAN OF THE YEAR. A contest that shines a light on extraordinary fans who have been a rallying force of their family, friends and/or community that inspire others through their love of football.
The conversation was just a blur for Windsor’s Stephanie Seguin.
Friend Jen Pillon told Seguin she had someone on the phone that wanted to talk about the Chasing Hazel Foundation. Pillon said it was Nate Burleson, but Seguin said she sort of went blank hearing the name of the 11-year NFL veteran and current co-host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network.