When Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson stepped foot in Phoenix Children’s Hospital for the first time, he was enamored.
“When I interacted with those kids, their faces lit up and brightened up,” Johnson says.
Those types of visits inspired Johnson and his wife, Meghan, to start the Mission 31 Foundation to provide opportunities, support and resources to seriously ill children and their families. The couple, who have a toddler son, offer daily support and life-changing experiences.
The couple introduced their foundation during a December 4 event at Mountain Shadows, with 200 guests, including several of his teammates like Elijhaa Penny and Chandler Jones. The Johnsons donated $15,000, but the event raised $200,000.
It was actually Meghan who inspired Johnson to visit with ill children.
“She was volunteering there and she had me tag along,” Johnson says. “That’s really where it started. We had a great time getting to talk to a lot of kids.
“Really, the greatest ones are when they are so surprised, they can’t believe that they see, not just me, but Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones and Carson Palmer. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to start a conversation because they don’t know what to say but, you know, when they start opening up, it’s really eye-opening and it brings a good feeling to my heart.”
Charity is nothing new to Johnson, who injured his wrist early in the season.
“Mission 31 makes me feel like what I do is really impactful to kids,” he says. “I’ve worked with other charities. We’ve fed the homeless at the food shelters on Thanksgiving, too.”
He is just thankful that his position allows him to help so many people.
“First off, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to do this,” he says. “God has given me this platform. I really want to make an impact in the community wherever I am needed.”
Next year, that’ll be on the field as well, helping the ailing Cardinals.
“It’s been a tough year, a lot of injuries, a lot of stuff going on with our team,” he says. “I feel like we are definitely doing the best that we can with the circumstances that we’ve been put in, but it’s obviously been a tough year for us.”
Johnson and the Cardinals hope to bounce back next season, but he will remain to be a leader off the field.
“We’re very excited for this foundation,” he says. “We couldn’t wait to get it started.”
For more information, visit https://www.davidjohnson31.org/.