Ex Pro Footballer Opens Foundation HQ
The Marty Lyons Foundation celebrated a grand opening of its relocated national headquarters right in Commack on Dec. 4.
Marty Lyons was a football player in the National Football League during the 1970s and 1980s. He spent his entire professional career of 12 years as a defensive lineman for the New York Jets.
Lyons established his foundation, a charity aimed at granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, in 1982, after experiencing a series of events that had deeply altered his view on life.
Early in his career, the football player befriended a 3-year-old boy suffering from severe disease. Lyons became extremely close with the young boy and took on the role of a surrogate father. In the spring of 1982, the boy died. During the same time period, Lyons’ father died, and his first child was born, healthy.
At that point, Lyons became determined to create a group dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children with terminal illnesses.
Lyons says his group has sponsored nearly 7,000 kids in its 32 years of existence.
“Every single story has a meaning,” Lyons said. “Every single life has a meaning.”
The Marty Lyons Foundation has brought joy to sick children and their families by making various dreams happen, such as trips to Disney World, meeting a celebrity, creating a swimming pool filled with spring water, swimming with dolphins and many more.
“If we can improve the quality of life for these kids, then we’ve done something good,” Lyons said. “Every kid teaches us something and I’m reassured every day through faith.”
When the foundation opened in 1982, it was stationed in Suffolk County. For the past 12 years, it operated out of New York City, and when it was time to move again, the group decided to move back to Long Island and chose its Commack location of 354 Veterans Memorial Highway.