Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Triumph in Tragedy

Motivated by his experience with his son, Michael William, Buc WR Joe Jurevicius once again lent his support and encouragement to a key Easter Seals event

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Bucs WR Joe Jurevicius helps keep the memory of his own son alive by helping other children through organizations like the Easter Seals

One year ago, Joe and Meagan Jurevicius were in the midst of an ordeal no parent should have to endure. The couple was spending its days and nights in the hospital, at the bedside of their newborn son, Michael William, wondering if he was going to make it.

Michael's battle was eventually lost, and those that knew the Jureviciuses, or were simply fans who had come to appreciate them, grieved with the family. Many Buccaneers fans also remember the inspiration that young Michael provided his dad. The Buc receiver battled through a heavy heart and a lack of practice to make several game-changing plays in Tampa Bay's victories in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.

Joe and Meagan cherished their time with Michael, building wonderful memories to balance the loss they will always feel. By helping to support organizations such as the Easter Seals and the March of Dimes, the Jurevicius' have found another way to keep Michael's memory alive.

This week, Joe Jurevicius served as the keynote speaker at the Easter Seals Corporate VIP Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon. The kick-off luncheon is a very important for the Easter Seals, helping to raise much-needed funds for children with special needs and/or disabilities. As he addressed the crowd, Jurevicius admitted that events such as the luncheon help him cope with Michael's loss and make him feel like he is continuing the fight.

"It does kind of help me cope knowing that there are other children out there that are sick and that I can do something to help them," said Jurevicius. "And I'm going to do everything possible to help them."

Jurevicius covered a variety of topics, including ways that others can help kids with special needs, but his core message of the day was one of tragedy and triumph. He encouraged the audience to find ways to bring triumph to what otherwise may be tragic situations.

"I believe that a lot of people look at these children and consider it a tragedy," he said, "but the triumph is having something like Easter Seals, where you raise awareness and you raise money and you get these kids everything they need to have a better life.

"The most important thing is the kids. And Easter Seals gives every child an opportunity to better themselves. I think a lot of people take for granted the health of children. Some children aren't able to have all the health qualities we'd wish them to have. Supporting Easter Seals helps raise awareness and money to give kids a better opportunity."

Following his presentation, Jurevicius encouraged everyone in attendance to take an active role in Easter Seals. Recognizing that each person has their own way of giving, he suggested volunteering their time, helping to raise money or donating items of need to local Easter Seals Centers.

Grace Armstrong, the Executive Director of Easter Seals of West Florida, was moved by Jurevicius' words.

"I think that people were touched and will be able to carry forward a reason to help these children," said Armstrong. "Difficulties can turn into joy but each of us has to work together to make that possible."

Jurevicius was also pleased that he could take part in the VIP event for the second consecutive year.

"(Easter Seals) is special to me for a lot of reasons," said Jurevicius. "One, I love children. Two, I lost a child. And my child might have been sick and needed special attention."

If you are interested in contributing to Easter Seals, please call (813) 769-5918.


On the Hook

Last Friday night, while many people were headed out for an night on the town, Buccaneers safety John Howell spent his evening with 72 kids between the ages of 7-14, as he presented awards to the Florida Regional Winners of the Florida CastingKids B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) Federation Championship.

The 72 Regional winners then competed on Saturday, at the Frank Sergeant Outdoors Expo, where two youngsters qualified for a trip to the B.A.S.S. National Championship in April in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the competition, the kids were judged on their ability to flip, pitch and cast, the key skills in bass fishing.

At the banquet, Howell presented each winner with a plaque from B.A.S.S., a B.A.S.S. hat and an autographed Buccaneers team photo.

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