SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When we last heard from Tim Green about 10 months ago, he was upbeat, he was positive, and his approach to life was simple, yet inspiring.
“You live each day as it comes and you’re thankful for all the things you have and you don’t dwell on the things you don’t have,” Green said.
Well, that attitude has not changed. And while ALS slowly continues to make things more challenging for Tim from a physical perspective, mentally, he’s as sharp as ever. In fact, his son Troy has a hard time keeping up with him.
Troy Green said, “Yeah, he works probably still more than I do. He spends a lot of time with his law practice, a lot of time writing books. He has his third book now with Derek Jeter comes out in the summer of 2020, which he’s excited about. He’s starting his next book already. I mean, he’s just (laughs), there’s no time off.”
But the Green family will take some time off together this weekend. They’ve got a football game to attend and a halftime ceremony that’s long overdue.
“In college sports, or really sports in general, I guess, your jersey getting retired, it doesn’t really get any bigger than that. But in typical, in his typical fashion, he really hasn’t taken any credit for it. I try to bring it up to him, when it’s just the two of us, and he’ll say things like, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for Coach O’Leary, Coach MacPherson, teammates, coaches, you know, so he’s extremely honored and humbled and I know he really appreciates it because he being local, he is Syracuse and Syracuse is him, so, he’s really excited,” Troy Green said.
And that’s a big part of what Saturday will be about, a celebration for Tim, for his family, and for this community. Troy will read a brief speech written by his father and while he won’t give away the message, you can bet a thank you or two will be included.
Troy Green said, “In adversity, you really see who’s with you and you hate to have adversity, but if you’re going to have it, it’s nice to see some of the silver lining as you get to see all of this overwhelming support, but I think it’s really always been there and family to him has nothing to do with blood. it’s about who, who would do anything for you and when you’re that to him, he’s that to you.”
That tight-knit community, though, extends further than you may realize. the Green family will be joined Saturday at the Dome by Finn Heick, an 11-year-old boy from Buffalo who doesn’t know Tim Green the football player. He knows Tim Green the author.
Heick said, “I started learning about him in second grade, not from class, but my librarian actually got me into reading him because she actually said ‘hey I think you’d like these books’ and I started reading them and I just kept reading them and reading them.”
Heick saw the “60 Minutes” story last fall when Tim went public with his diagnosis and the news hit him hard.
“I was sad, but then I realized that I found a website called Tackle ALS and it raises money for people that have ALS and Tim Green actually made it and that’s how I raise money for him,” Heick said.
That’s right. Heick raises money to fight ALS. He plays his guitar at public events and musical festivals. Half of whatever he makes, he donates to Tim’s fund.
Troy Green said, “So I actually saw on social media, somebody showed it to me, and there’s this kid playing his guitar to raise money. it’s just, sometimes you have to stop and really just kind of soak things in a moment or an experience and that’s something that, how do you even put that into words, right?”
So Tim sent Heick a few signed books to say thank you, but that wasn’t all. He also sent him tickets to Saturday’s game.
Heick said, “I’ve never been to a Syracuse football game, so I am really looking forward to a football game and seeing him and his family and them retiring his jersey.”
“I don’t know. I think he’ll be a bit star-struck at first, you know, and just be able to give him a hug and have this come full circle,” Mary Heick said. “This will mean a lot to him. I think he’ll be awake a lot of nights, thinking about it.”
And remember what troy said to Tim Green: Family includes more than just blood relatives. It’s about who would do anything for you, which means 11-year-old Finn Heick is now family.
Heick said, “I am just trying to help little by bit by raising money for him and as long as I keep doing this, then, I mean, there’s not a cure for ALS, but maybe I can make one.”
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For more local sports, follow Steve Infanti on Twitter @SteveInfantiNC9