Full Press Coverage is proud to feature this series in which columnist Matt Robinson will profile and celebrate our athletic friends who go the extra mile for people in need.
NAME: Kelyn Rowe
TEAM: New England Revolution
FOUNDATION: Jessie Rees Foundation (www.negu.org)
New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe is one of the many professional athletes who has embraced the Jessie Rees Foundation and its “Never Ever Give Up” (NEGU) mantra. Jessie Joy Rees was a 12-year-old girl who fought valiantly but eventually succumbed to brain cancer in 2012. Since then, thousands around the world have united in her memory to help others fight this terrible condition.
In 2014, Rowe started “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” to give young cancer patients associated with the Jessie Rees Foundation a unique and memorable experience at Revs matches. While each NEGU Crew member and their family get premium seats for a Revs game and a meet-and-greet with the players afterward, the highlight of the experience is a post-game walk around the field with Rowe as the thousands of fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium cheer.
When did the foundation start?
Since the 2015 season, I have hosted “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” experiences at Revs games in partnership with the Jessie Rees Foundation. The acronym NEGU stands for “Never Ever Give Up,” a phrase that the Foundation adopted. I was introduced to the Foundation by a college friend who began working with the organization. After my first experience with the non-profit, I realized I wanted to get involved because it brought such so much joy and smiles to the kids I met.
What is the goal?
I offer a matchday experience for childhood cancer patients and their families. The Jessie Rees Foundation ensures that every child fighting cancer has the support and resources they need to never ever give up, and my NEGU Crew aims to give each child a memorable experience as they continue their brave fight against cancer. My goal for “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” is to bring a kid away from the hardships they have faced and made them smile. I want to share with them the same excitement the game brings to me. That is why I love taking the kids around the field after the game to thank the fans. It gives them a chance to fully experience the joy and support the fans can give you.
What does it bring to the community?
“Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to children battling against cancer, but it also provides a platform to bring awareness to their stories, shows their bravery, and inspire the community to come together and support these families in their time of need.
What are your most meaningful annual events?
Through my work with Jessie Rees Foundation, I have been able to connect the non-profit with the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation’s support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. The Jessie Rees Foundation, along with other organizations helping to combat childhood cancer, are supported by the Revs as part of this league-wide campaign that features philanthropic activities on and off the field.
How can people become involved?
Those interested in becoming involved in “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” can join me at a Revolution game to support and cheer on the many kids honored throughout the season or by donating to the Jessie Rees Foundation to help every kid fighting chance. Never Ever Give Up!
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–Matt Robinson is a Special Contributor to Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He is a freelance writer and editor with 20 years of experience. See his content at www.therobinsonreporter.com