Makati-born Tebow steps up for Haiyan survivors

Myke Miravite
Tim Tebow, through his foundation, launches an aid initiative to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

TEBOWING. Tim Tebows prays along sideline. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA

MANILA, Philippines – With parts of central Philippines battered by Typhoon Haiyan still struggling to get back on its feet, former NFL player Tim Tebow looks back to his birthplace to lend a helping hand.

Through his Tim Tebow Foundation, the Makati-born and Jacksonville, Florida-raised quarterback has stepped up to help the victims of what has been the strongest storm to hit land ever recorded.

On November 13 – barely a week after Haiyan struck the country – Tebow’s foundation announced on Twitter they are launching an Aid Initiative for the Philippines through its website, making him one of the first sports personalities to extend help to the survivors of the typhoon.

Filipino not by blood, but at heart

Despite having no single drop of Filipino blood in his veins, it was not Tebow’s first act of compassion for Filipinos as he has been active for a while in helping communities in the country where he was born.

On Aug 14, 1987, Timothy Richard Tebow was born to an American couple, Bob and Pam, who, together with their 4 children, lived in the Philippines since 1985 as church missionaries. While the story of the Tebows is not new, Tim’s birth was different altogether.

Sometime in 1987 during their stay in the Philippines, Pam contracted a disease called amoebic dysentery. According to US National Center for Biotechnology Information, the infection is “transmitted in areas where poor sanitation allows contamination of drinking water and food with faeces.”

Carrying her 5th child in her womb which was Tim, Pam fell into a coma and was given strong drugs in a bid to save her life. The drugs however caused peril to the baby, detaching it from the uterus wall – depriving the unborn baby of oxygen in the process.

Believing that the baby would not survive, given the condition and to make it less complicated for the mother, the doctors advised the couple to abort the child. Being missionaries, Bob and Pam naturally refused and the rest, as they say, is history.

A star was born

Despite being homeschooled during his early years, Tebow went on to become one of the most decorated college footballers of his time with the Florida Gators of University of Florida. He was chosen as Associated Press’ Player of the Year in 2007 and won the Heisman trophy in the same year. Even before making waves in his college career, Tim has been in the spotlight, being featured in a number of documentaries for his athletic exploits and his missionary work in the Philippines.

He also made a stir in 2009 when during the BCS Championship game, he wore “John 3:16” on his eye paint. The biblical verse was then Googled 90 million times, becoming the most searched term in the next 24 hours. He was also credited of the term “Tebowing,” a position he makes before the game, kneeling on one knee while praying.

Entering the NFL in 2010, Tebow was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the first round and went on to play for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots before he became a free agent in 2013.

Life off the pitch

Driven to lend a hand to those who need it, Tebow raised funds for a children’s home in the Philippines – the Uncle Dick’s Orphanage – founded by his father’s Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association. He also raised money for several projects both here and in the US and, before turning pro in 2010, he founded the Tim Tebow Foundation.

The Tim Tebow Foundation partnered with CURE International – an American non-profit organization focused on providing children medical care – to run an orthopedic hospital for children in Davao City. His philanthropy has also led him to be part of many orphan care projects throughout the Philippines.

Aside from Tebow’s effort, sympathy and aid have also poured in from a handful of global sports celebrities for the Haiyan survivors–

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