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Forget the commercials. Super Bowl 50's most heartfelt moment already happened.

Charles Tillman is a force to be reckoned with on and off the field.

Forget the commercials. Super Bowl 50's most heartfelt moment already happened.

Nearly eight years ago, NFL defensive back Charles Tillman and his wife feared losing their daughter Tiana to heart failure.

When the then-Chicago Bears defensive back's daughter was just three months old, she went into heart failure. At six months, she received a heart transplant.



Tillman spent his first 12 NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears before joining the Carolina Panthers. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

Tiana is now healthy and happy, but it was those first months of her life spent in the hospital, surrounded by other families facing similar hardships, that inspired Tillman and his wife, Jackie, to launch the Tiana Fund, part of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation.

Since then, the Tiana Fund has donated more than $1 million to over 300 Illinois families in need.

The foundation's work hasn't gone unnoticed. For his work with the Cornerstone Foundation, Tillman was named the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award is given annually to a player whose off-field work makes a difference in his community.

Tillman was also nominated for the award in 2012, which went to the Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten. Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images.

This year, Tillman and the Tiana Fund set up shop to help families in a new location: North Carolina.

After 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Tillman signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers, bringing with him the same mission of giving back.

Earlier this month, Tillman rounded up some of his Panthers teammates for a Tiana Fund fundraiser with the goal of expanding the program to Charlotte's Levine Children’s Hospital.

Low-income and economically at-risk families can apply to receive support through the fund, aimed at improving their quality of life and offering financial assistance to cover medical costs.

The funds go toward medical bills, rent, toys, and other things families need but cannot afford while their child is in the hospital.

Social worker Joanne Singleton praises the Cornerstone Foundation's work. GIF by John Tait.

The Carolina Panthers are headed to the Super Bowl this year, but due to an injury, Tillman will be watching from the sidelines.

For the second time in his career, Tillman is headed to the Super Bowl. After a dominant season, the Panthers will face the Denver Broncos. Tillman played a key role in the team's defensive success. Unfortunately, a late-season injury is keeping the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback off the field.


Tillman runs back an intercepted pass from the Patriots' Tom Brady during a preseason game. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images.

But that doesn't mean he'll be sitting this one out — in a matter of speaking.

Tillman raffled off two all-expenses-paid tickets to Super Bowl 50 — all to support the Tiana Fund.

What better way to use the publicity that comes with a winning season than to raise money while giving fans the chance to catch the game of a lifetime?

Tillman isn't alone. Players all over the league give back to their communities in different ways.

Unfortunately, many of the headlines we see about the NFL focus on the more scandalous aspects of some players' lives. But many of these players do put in a lot of off-field work trying to make the world a better place. For example, 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year (and Tillman teammate) Thomas Davis founded the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit "dedicated to providing and promoting free programs that enhance the quality of life for more than 2,000 underprivileged children and their families annually."

The league itself has rallied around a number of charitable initiatives, inviting more players — many of whom came from low-income families themselves — to help give back by using their fame and riches to make a difference in the world.

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is one of the several hospitals that works with the Cornerstone Foundation. Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Ann and Robert H. Lurie Hospital of Chicago.

Learn more about the Cornerstone Foundation's work by watching the video below:

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

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The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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