Shon Coleman beat cancer before going on to a successful college football career and eventually making it to the NFL.
Now, he’s committed to helping others fight the disease by partnering with
“It was just a minor setback for a major comeback,” said Coleman, now in his third season for the Cleveland Browns. “I knew I’d play football again thanks to my faith, the support I received from my family and my fans, and the excellent care I received at St. Jude."
From Oct. 23 through Nov. 20, Domino’s will be teaming up with
“It’s a miraculous hospital,” said Coleman. “They’re saving and changing lives, helping families, and delivering hope. Without question, I wouldn’t be here without St. Jude.”
Coleman spent more than two years at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. He developed a strong bond with many of his doctors and caregivers, and with his fellow patients. “My biggest memories were of the other kids who were there, going through what I was going through and supporting each other,” he recalled.
Support also came from a fellow football player who overcame a similar off-the-field challenge. Mark Herzlich was an All-American linebacker at Boston College when he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Doctors told him he’d never run or play football again, but he proved them wrong and returned to the field after two years of chemotherapy and radiation. He’s now in his seventh season with the New York Giants.
“Mark reached out to me one day when I was in the hospital,” Coleman recalls. “I was 18 or 19 at the time. To hear from him and how he’d battled cancer and made it to the NFL meant everything to me.”
Coca-Cola reunited Mark and Shon to help support St Jude this month. Click here to see their collaboration.
In September 2013, nearly four years after playing his last down, Coleman took the field at Auburn. In the next two seasons, the offensive tackle started 25 games and was drafted by the Browns. He returned to St. Jude to watch the draft live with kids undergoing treatment.
“I wanted them to see that I was in their shoes but made it to where I’d wanted to be,” he said. “I wanted to give them hope and inspire them to keep following their dreams, just like I’d done.”
Coleman said his experience at St. Jude made him a better player and a better person.
“It taught me to never take anything for granted, and to always live in the moment and take it all in. Now, in the NFL, I’m taking it all in and working harder than I’ve ever worked before. And I’ll never give up on my dreams.”
Go to Coke.com/stjude to participate in Domino’s double donation promotion for St. Jude.