www.redeyechicago.com/sports/redeye-bears-charles-tillman-looking-to-strip-negativity-20130717,0,4319376.story

redeyechicago.com

Bears' Tillman tackling negativity

By Riley Blevins, @riley_blevins

RedEye

2:56 PM CDT, July 17, 2013

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The man most call “Peanut” paced by the bed of his 3-month-old daughter, Tiana.

Doctors told the Bears cornerback she might not make it through the night.

More than 400 miles away, a mother’s son didn’t. Armando Garcia died at 9 weeks old.

But Garcia's mother, Magali, would make a selfless decision that saved Tiana’s life. 

Magali didn’t know Charles Tillman. She didn’t know the two-time Pro Bowler's daughter would get her son’s heart. She donated it simply because she thought it was the right thing to do.

In Tillman’s eyes, stories such as Magali’s aren’t being told enough.

That’s why Tillman has teamed with Allstate Insurance Company’s Give It Up For Good campaign, which focuses on shining light on unsung community heroes.

Tillman is encouraging people to share their own stories of kindness, believing a little good can go a long way.

“Good is contagious, you know?” Tillman said. "You never know what kind of inspiration a little good might have on someone else."

Magali's kindness gave Tiana a second chance.

Tillman’s daughter is now 4 years old. The only sign of her illness is a fading scar. And it’s all thanks to a stranger.

But stories don’t need to be as heart-wrenching as Tillman’s to fit Give It Up For Good's bill.

“It can be as little as, you know what, I bought a cup of coffee for my neighbor, who is a Packers fan, but I’m trying to do something positive today so I bought him a cup of coffee,” Tillman said.  “Or, hey, I let a person merge and I let him in. Or I’m gonna help the little lady in the grocery store who can’t reach the soup on the third shelf.” 

The campaign is centered around an online platform that features user-generated stories, tweets, videos and photos.

Users can share a story, picture or video online at Allstate.com/GiveItUpForGood or tweet using “#GiveItUpForGood.”

“When my daughter was sick I had that ‘ah ha’ moment,” Tillman said. “Maybe what happened to her happened for a reason. Maybe I wasn’t giving enough in the past.” 

Since, Tillman has certainly kept busy giving.

In 2005, Tillman created the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, which focuses on helping chronically ill children in the Chicago area. The charity claims to have touched the lives of more than 1 million children.

Tillman said he takes his charity work very personally. 

“Someone did a good deed for me,” he said. “I want to do a good deed for someone else.”

Tillman is known for his ability to create turnovers on the field, throwing Mike Tyson-like punches at ball carriers. But in his newest endeavor with Give It Up For Good, his goal is to strip communities of negative headlines.

“Everywhere you look today, you see stories about murder and violence and negativity," he said. "I want to help change that.”

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