A happy Father’s Day

I spent some time with Charles Tillman and his family at their Libertyville home this week for an upcoming Father’s Day story in Chicago Parent Magazine. Tillman is best known as a defensive back for the Chicago Bears. He was selected with the 35th overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft and his accomplishments on the field as a professional are impressive. That’s the public side of Charles Tillman.

The private family man side, though, is just as intriguing. Tillman’s youngest daughter Tiana, who is now 16 months old, nearly died as an infant from a disease called cardiomyopathy. The scary ordeal, which included a life-saving heart transplant for Tiana, prompted Tillman to create a charitable foundation that supports parents and children in similar situations. Here’s a link to the foundation’s site. Tillman and his wife Jackie actually petitioned the FDA to perform a risky procedure to keep Tiana alive while she waited for a suitable transplant.

I don’t have kids, but I can imagine how powerful that connection must be. I’m guessing the bond between Tillman, Jackie and their two daughters has been strengthened even more after persevering through such a trying time. Oh, and did I mention Jackie is pregnant? Should be a nice Father’s Day for the Tillman family.

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