My friend Joey


Joe DeLamielleure is walking to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Golden Anniversary Reunion. His Pounding the Pavement for Prosthetics Walk from Buffalo to Canton is to raise awareness and support for the GRACE’S LAMP organization that deals with young children who grow out of their prosthetic legs but cannot afford the high cost of new adult prosthetic legs. Read story>>> | Support Grace’s Lamp>>>

Thanks for reading my blog and listening to my story.

Several years ago, a friend of mine who owns a burger restaurant in Charlotte noticed two customers. They were Chrystal Funderburk and her son Joey. My friend noticed that Joey had prosthetic legs and asked him about it. He listened to their story and then told them about some old football player who might, as a "celebrity," be willing to help their cause. That “old football player” is me. My friend gave Chrystal my number and she eventually gave me a call.

This started an education for me as I was completely unaware of the cost for prosthetic legs. In the process, I’ve gained a new friend in Joey. Here’s his story and why I’m going to walk more than 20 miles a day for nearly two weeks to get from Buffalo to Canton!

About 15 years ago, after her divorce, Chrystal followed a calling after reading about an orphanage in Romania. She spent three months volunteering at the orphanage. She had no intention of adopting a child but met a five-year-old boy who was born with birth defects after his mother had taken medication during the pregnancy. Chrystal immediately connected with the young boy who was born without legs. She spent the next 1½ years going through the process of bringing him to the United States so he could get surgery and live a better life. She remarried and in 2004, she and her husband adopted that child. That boy she welcomed into her life is my friend Joey.

I was shocked to learn that amputees need new legs every 3-5 years and children require new prosthetic legs every two years. The cost of the prosthetics legs are around $120,000 and insurance stopped covering the full costs for Joey when he turned 18.

So, he decided to start doing some fundraising to help raise money. The story received a bit of local publicity and soon it was picked up by ABC News. That resulted in a great amount of support and soon Joey was fitted with new prosthetics.

Rather than just take their good fortune in stride, Joey and Chrystal decided they wouldn’t sit back and just say “good for us!” They started Grace’s Lamp.

Grace's Lamp Foundation is a charity that started to help Joey and others like him receive the medical treatment that they need and also to help other families adopt children. When they originally started raising funds to get new prosthetic legs for Joey, they had no idea they would see such an incredible outpouring of love and generosity for Joey's needs. Everyone was so kind and encouraging, that they soon realized they could not just sit back and accept all these blessings without doing something to help others in similar situations. Grace's Lamp was established to help families adopt children, go on missions, and get the medical treatment that they need.

Along the way, they decided they needed a “celebrity” and Chrystal grabbed my number from her purse and gave me a call.

So now I’m one of the lead dogs in this fight and I'm thankful I can use my notoriety to help.

I consider myself a very blessed man. I am walking to Canton to bring awareness and help support those young people who might not be able to walk.

I invite you to follow along through my blog as I  walk for my friend Joey and the tens of thousands children and adults in this country who are in need of new prosthetic legs.

And, if you can find it your heart, please consider a donation, large or small, to the cause.

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