Georgia Football: Giving Back Is Good For Everyone

It is late June and most people are counting down the days until September 5 when Georgia hosts ULM (Louisiana-Monroe) to start their 2015 football season. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs players and head coach Mark Richt decided to put their efforts towards a higher calling.

A handful of players which included running back Nick Chubb, offensive tackle John Theus, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, and quarterback Faton Bauta found their way to Rutledge, Ga. to work with kids who have or are currently battling cancer. This is Camp Sunshine and the UGA program has been a mainstay at the camp pretty much since Richt took over the program back in 2001.

The Camp has been in existence since 1983 and has been a huge source of inspiration for kids going through these atrocious diseases and those who have won their recent battle over the afflictions.

Mo Thrash has been involved with the camp as a member of their board and now lends his time as a volunteer during the times the kids are at Camp Sunshine on the grounds of Camp Twin Lakes. While showing the players around the camp, he shared the fact that he’s had the impossible task of having to bury a child because of cancer.

Thrash also adds that when they tell kids that the Bulldogs will come visit them, he says it makes them even more excited to go to camp.

As we all got to see last season, Nick Chubb burst on the scene in Athens and made quite the name for himself running the football. Yesterday, his notoriety was for completely different reasons.

Chubb found himself helping kids build Lego figures, playing dodgeball, holding a baby (see my Instagram: @DanMathews27), and signing autographs. Chubb says he knows what it means to people that he’s a Georgia football player, but this puts a face on what he can do.

“It’s great to get out here because these kids look up to us and what we do,” Chubb said. “To come out here for them, means a lot to them. But, it also means a lot for us too. It’s great to be out here.”

The players volunteer to come to visit the kids at Camp Sunshine and yesterday was the second straight week that UGA players made their way over from Athens to visit the campers. Richt says that guys like running back Keith Marshall have made this visit a summer priority during every offseason.

“He didn’t even sign up for today but he’d been here every year for three years going onto his fourth year,” Richt said. “He said I’ve got to roll out of bed to get there. So, he decided to come again today.”

Richt says that Marshall had the chance to nap after the team went through workouts and instead decided to keep his tradition going.

He also continued on by talking about the program involvement with Extra Special People, Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer, and The Boys and Girls Club to name a few charitable organizations they pledge their time to. They enjoy them all and really enjoy their time with the kids at Camp Sunshine.

“There’s nothing like helping somebody for no good reason other than to bless them,” Richt said. “What they realize is that they get blessed. You kind of roll in here thinking I’m going to be nice to a kid or do a good deed and make somebody’s day. What happens is their day gets made.”

If you need any other prospective put on what this visit means not only for the kids or players. Think about what a player like quarterback Faton Bauta is dealing with this summer.

He like many players on the UGA roster are going through position battles that will yield one starter at their spot. When it comes to what the kids are dealing with? Bauta says battles like the one he’s going though are so trivial.

“Not even close,” Bauta said. “What these guys go through is nothing like that. They go through so much. Everything that I go through over there at school, it’s a blessed opportunity. That’s how you’ve got to look at it. What these kids go through, is nothing compared to that. These guys just go through so much and I’m just blessed to be around them right now.”

Camp Sunshine is an amazing place and it was an honor to be able to see the players, coaches, and staff members interact with these kids. I would encourage anyone to donate their time, money, or anything else they can to Camp Sunshine.

I promise if you ever make the trip out to Rutledge to help out these kids, you will never regret it.

If you would like to get more involved with Camp Sunshine, visit their website at WWW.MyCampSunshine.Com.

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