NY Jets Player’s Life Changes When He Adopts 9 Kids from Haiti

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New York Jets wide receiver, David Nelson, had no idea that his entire life was about to change when he traveled to Haiti on a Mission Trip following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake of 2010.

On not only his first trip to Haiti, but also his first trip out of the country, a chance encounter changed his life forever, ESPN reports.

Nelson rose to fame when he caught the college National Championship winning Touchdown Pass thrown by Tim Tebow. He is also well-recognized for the game ball he gave to his then-girlfriend, a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, during a rivalry game. Now he is known for something much greater.

Nelson tells ESPN, “There had been a huge emptiness in my heart because I was living out of selfishness – vanity, money, fame. I wanted all the cars. I wanted all the clothes. And all of that changed when I went to Haiti.”

The quake that had devastated much of Haiti left rebar and other debris spread over 10,714 square miles. As Nelson was at a gas station during his volunteer trip, he looked over and saw a malnourished boy trapped on some rebar and quickly ran over to help him.

Nelson offered the boy food, candy, and other resources, but he declined them all, simply asking to be held. Nelson started to cry and says those were the most beautiful 5 minutes of his life.

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After that moment, an immediate fire was lit in Nelson’s heart.

“It got me thinking that helping these children is so much deeper than just going to Haiti and building structures and orphanages. The number one thing these kids need in their life is to be loved,” Nelson said.

As the oldest of 8 kids himself, he had always known he had wanted to do something with kids in some capacity, he just hadn’t known what. Nelson decided then and there that his purpose was to help as many of the nearly half a million orphans in Haiti that he could.

Nelson reflects, “They’re kids who don’t have anything to call their own, except for a pair of clothes and some shoes, but they still have so much hope for life. I came back and my life was changed by those kids, by their hope and perspective on life.”

In the months that followed, Nelson and his brother launched the I’m Me foundation and rented a house in Port-au-Prince to begin.

On a fateful day in June, Nelson received a phone call from a local Haitian that told him that there were 5 kids on the verge of death that desperately needed their help. When the brothers arrived, it turned out to be 9 kids, not 5, from infants up to 8 years old.

The children were living in filth, in what turned out to be an “orphanage” that existed entirely on milking donations out of American aid groups. The kids here looked as though they hadn’t eaten in days, they reeked of urine, were covered in flies and cockroaches, and were forced to sleep on concrete without even so much as a pillow.

Despite threats from the people running the current orphanage, Nelson and his brother immediately took the kids out of there and into their own care.

With the help of a Haitian staff and some American volunteers, Nelson and his brother are raising all 9 children as their own, with plans to officially adopt them.

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Although Nelson had to return back to the Jets, he communicates with the kids via Skype every single day and gets back to Haiti every chance he gets.

“Our lives radically changed because of those kids. I was playing in the NFL, but these kids didn’t care who I was, they didn’t care what I did, they didn’t care what I was bringing them, material wise. All they wanted was love and attention, and for me to hold them and play soccer with them. It rocked my world. My brother and I made it our mission to provide for these kids any way we can.”


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