Turning Tragedy into Triumph: The Lats Legacy Foundation is FormedJune 22, 2016
My children and I weren’t prepared for their father’s death. He had just turned 48 years old that October of 2014. The day after my daughter turned 18, she was signing her dad’s death certificate. A week later we were buying my then 11-year-old son his first suit for his dad’s memorial service.
Our lives were forever changed and we were blanketed with a grief we had never known. A grief so deep I left my longtime career as a television news anchor to be the present parent my daughter described her father as in her eulogy of him.
Though he and I had been divorced seven years, we remained close enough that he left me as his medical power of attorney. He trusted me with his life and just as his life had meaning, my children and I want to make sure his death has meaning too.
Dave and I were college sweethearts at the University of Southern California. He was a Trojan baseball player and I was a batgirl. He was drafted out of USC and played professional baseball until his retirement five years later. My children didn’t get to see the tremendous athlete he was, but through the years and especially after his death, they heard story after story about what an exceptional teammate, friend and leader he was on and off the field. They wanted to keep his memory alive in a way that involved baseball and would be connected to something that had special meaning to him. With our daughter’s acceptance to USC last spring, the connection became obvious.
We worked with USC last summer to establish a scholarship that would benefit Trojan baseball players who demonstrated the qualities Dave had been known for at USC: leadership on the field and academic distinction off the field.
On the first anniversary of Dave’s death, we proudly launched The Lats Legacy Foundation (Lats was his nickname in baseball) and in collaboration with USC, the USC Lats Legacy Baseball Scholarship. We have been actively fundraising since, with the goal of awarding our first scholarship in the fall of 2016. Nothing has made me prouder than to see my children not only keeping their father’s memory alive, but in a way that will help student-athletes continue living the dream Dave did.
We have a lofty goal of reaching endowment status, but at some point in the next year or so, would like to also raise funds to support a baseball-related nonprofit in Arizona, where Dave and I have spent half our lives and raised our children. I often imagine how proud he must be in heaven watching our children honor him here on earth by helping others.
Because of my media relationships, I’ve been able to promote our fundraising campaign on TV, radio and via magazine columns such as this. I also rely heavily on social media and the kindness of people who are willing to share our mission.
No gift is too big or too small to help The Lats Legacy Foundation continue making a difference. Donations to the USC Lats Legacy Baseball Scholarship can be made by texting the word LATS to 71777 or at TheLatsLegacyFoundation.org. Follow The Lats Legacy Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.