Brother starts foundation in honor of sister
How far would you go for a loved one? What would you do if you were burdened to help and the feeling just wouldn’t go away?
Phillip Ebarb of West Orange was inspired to do something to honor who sister, Peggy Prescott, who died this year of cancer and also help others in similar circumstances.
“My family, as many others, had been forced to deal with terminal cancer,” Ebarb said. “My sister had battled valiantly and was losing the fight. Being a strong, single mom, she never asked for help and always kept what she had to deal with to herself.”
Ebarb told of one particular instance when Mississippi State played Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston this season. Prescott went to see her son, quarterback Dak Prescott of Mississippi State, play.
After she was placed in hospice and given an expiration date, time with her sons became her only priority.
Prescott was stuck outside in 102 degree heat, sick with cancer. Fortunately, a Houston police officer made arrangements for Prescott to enter and wait for the game to start in the air conditioning.
“It was a nightmare. Nobody should have to go through that,” Ebarb said. “I was going to do everything in my power to make her comfortable, take care of logistics, transportation, expenses so she could make every possible game.”
Her son, Dak, being a student athlete, restricted his availability –due to games, travel, classes, studying, and practice. So the only way to have any time with her son was to attend his games.
Terminal illness can put an enormous financial strain on families, which makes traveling to and from games even more difficult, Ebarb said.
Due to NCAA compliance issues, schools are unable to provide assistance to these families.
Thanks to family and friends, the family raised enough money to make some of these opportunities possible. Other obstacles, however, such as having her medical needs attended to, her comfort, and traveling between different locations, became just as difficult to alleviate.
Ebarb soon discovered there were many other athletes and their families facing similar situations.
“So I’ve made it my life’s goal to begin a foundation that provides parents with a terminal illness the opportunity to spend precious time with their student athlete/performer children. This foundation – Huddle Up for Life- will assist these parents in attending their children’s events by assisting with expenses, travel, medical needs, and comfort,” he said.
The family held a benefit on Oct. 26 at the Vinton American Legion to start the foundation in her honor.
Ebarb said the support was unbelievable and people are already beginning to step up. The first board meeting, consequently, was held last Tuesday night.
Huddle Up for Life will soon have a website including a donation page to sponsor a benefactor and a Facebook page.
Ebarb got the idea to start a foundation after speaking with the wife of Mississippi State coach, Dan Mullen, who also began a foundation.
“She said my idea should be a foundation. We contacted a lawyer, hired a CPA, researched and received advice from many people,” he said
Ebarb said when facing terminal illness, time with one’s family is the most cherished things one has. For parents whose children are students, earning their educations through athletics and performance, this is often difficult due to the travel and the time commitment of their sport.
“We believe in family values, and the improvement in the quality of life for all those involved by providing a means for these families to spend cherished time together,” he said.
To contact the Huddle Up for Life Foundation to donate or volunteer you can call Phillip Ebarb at 337-274-1482 or e-mail email@example.com. They also have a donation site on gofundme.com. A huddleupforlife.com Web site is under construction and should be up and running in a couple of weeks.
Phillip Ebarb, center in the maroon football jersey, chaired the first meeting of Huddle Up for Life board of directors meeting, at Robert’s Steakhouse and Meat Market. The foundation, in honor of his sister who died from cancer, will assist these parents in attending their children’s events by assisting with expenses, travel, medical needs, and comfort. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball