DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The mother of one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims was one of many honored in Davie on Saturday night at the 88 Blessings gala.
The event is put on by former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Allen Hurns, who now plays in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, and his mother, honoring single mothers across the region.
“So they could see that there was once someone in their shoes and has a story where I am playing in the NFL, my mom has her organization,” Hurns said. “So it just give them light and hope that one day they can overcome it.”
Hurns’ path to making millions wasn’t easy. Growing up in South Florida with a single mom, they often went without.
“She was always my motivation,” said Hurns. “I think the one thing that grounded me today. I had a fear of letting her down.”
“He said every time I touch that field he would do it for me,” said Hurns’ mother, Erica Wilson.
When Allen made it to the biggest field of them all, the NFL, his mother began a foundation to let single parents know you can overcome the challenges.
“I was a single mom, a young single mom with two kids struggling. Rape victim. Homeless. Robbed at gunpoint. All those thing had to happen to get to my purpose today,” she explained. “And that’s why I am standing here today giving back. Because once a person hears what you went through they will tell you what they went through. So it’s all about awareness and being strong through adversity.”
After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, Hurns changed his jersey number from 88 to 17, to honor the 17 who died in Parkland that day.
The group recognized Lori Alhadeff and her foundation at the gala, to make schools safer.
“Allen has been incredible,” said Alhadeff. “He’s been able to use his platform as a football player to help bring Make Our Schools Safe to a national level.”
Hurns and his mother hopeful they can pay their blessings forward, to make our community a better place.