<span>The New Orleans Saints will convene for the beginning of their 12-week off-season strength and conditioning program on Monday, March 30 at the team's Metairie headquarters.
But one member of the Saints will be getting a head start on his conditioning work this weekend. Freshly re-signed starting right tackle Jon Stinchcomb will be taking to the streets to run three miles in his home state of Georgia in the ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon to find a cure for Neurofibromatosis.
"Clearly offensive linemen aren't built to tackle the rigors of marathons," Stinchcomb jokingly said. "But the discomfort of long distance running pales in comparison to struggles that people like Drew Leathers and those affected by NF go through on a daily basis."
Stinchcomb was named the Saints' Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2008 for his outstanding contributions in the community, and his work continues through his support of "Tumornators." The project is an off-shoot branch of fundraisers for the Children's Tumor Foundation, inspired by Leathers and his fight to live his best life in spite on constant pain, the consistent need for surgeries, and a constant need for regular doctor's appointments and countless MRI's.
"His battle is a nothing short of truly inspirational," Stinchcomb said. "Every single day he wrestles with the threat that his body is producing tumors that affect his body. His fight is a courageous one and something that I have true admiration for. I am privileged to be able to call attention to his and everyone else affected by NF. These amazingly courageous people need our assistance in raising funds and awareness so that we can come out on top of the fight against NF."
Mr. Leathers was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis one week before his 16th birthday and his life took a significant turn after being affected by the relentless tumor-producing condition. He lives under the constant threat and knowledge that tumors continue to grow and threaten to paralyze him. At this time, few answers are available, short of continued research for the disease.
Mrs. Leathers, Drew's mother, said, "There is no love like a parent's love. From the minute you lay eyes on your baby, you lose your heart. To see your child go through the agony I see mine go through everyday. It is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. I'm so proud of how Drew copes. There is always a smile on his face and an 'Oh, I'm doing great!' when asked how he is feeling. I am so thankful for how Drew's brothers (Chad and Ben) are fighting for their brother. They work tirelessly for The Tumornators. Drew is just one of the many people fighting the horrors of Neurofibromatosis. We are moving closer to a cure and desperately need and desperately appreciate your donation to help us in our fight."
Stinchcomb and the team at Tumornators kindly asks for any assistance that you may be able to provide by sponsoring Stinchcomb as he tackles the pavement this weekend. Contributions are tax deductible in accordance with federal law.