Ask Joe Bendik about his eight-year-old nephew Gavin, and his eyes instantly light up.
You see, Gavin has cystic fibrosis and Bendik, the Portland Timbers backup goalkeeper, has used his notoriety as a professional soccer player to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It's a passion that has led Bendik to raise close to $3,000 through the Portland chapter of Team Gavin as part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides National Walk Event.
Those efforts have earned him the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month award for July.
Bendik and a handful of teammates participated in the May 19 Great Strides event at Oaks Park Amusement Park or donated gear to show their support. Along with the money generated at the local event, Team Gavin raised more than $30,000 nationwide.
Bendik is hoping to draw on the excitement displayed during the Great Strides walk to plan a charity golf tournament in August. He's also working with a local high school in the area on an alumni football game fundraiser. All of it with Gavin in mind.
Article by Dan Itel. Read more.