(Photo: REUTERS / Doug Murray)
Christian football star Tim Tebow is taking his ministry off the field and helping disabled children overseas.
Tebow made headlines Sunday by leading the Denver Broncos in an 18-15 overtime upset over the Miami Dolphins in Florida. After thanking Jesus following the narrow victory, he announced on Tuesday his Tim Tebow Foundation will partner with CURE International. The two children's health organizations will announce the specifics of an overseas hospital construction project next month.
"I am truly excited about this partnership with CURE International," Tebow said in a statement. "When I learned about what CURE does and how intentional the organization is about sharing the Gospel and healing children, I knew it would be a great partnership."
CURE formed in 1998 with the goal of providing medical treatment for children in developing countries with disabilities. In similar fashion, the Tim Tebow Foundation formed in 2010 and constructs hospital playrooms, provides support for orphans and comforts children with serious maladies.
"We share the same DNA with the Tim Tebow Foundation," said Dale Brantner, CURE's senior vice president. "It's a game changer when someone of Tim's stature and notoriety who stands for the same core values as us comes together with CURE International for God's Kingdom."
Tebow is used to shifting the tides with or without a football. Joining the University of Florida's Gators football team in 2006, he won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and a national college football championship in 2008. An outspoken evangelical, he wore "John 3:16" on his eye black during the 2009 Bowl Championship Series and provoked 92 million Google searches on the Bible verse.
Brantner said such visibility would bring attention to the thousands of children in developing countries that have treatable medical conditions but lack health care. More importantly, he said, a strong Christian role model like Tebow could also bring those overseas spiritual healing too.
"Tim is a powerful witness," Brantner said. "He has a deep courage and confidence wrapped in humility before his God and other people. I love the seriousness with which he approaches both his faith and his sport."
Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation, said his organization's new partnership with CURE expanded its abilities to help needy children.
"Tim first started this foundation as a way to use his God-given platform to help other people," he said. "His heart for that mission continues to be a major driving force behind our progress. We hope to change the lives of deserving children by bringing them the faith, hope and love we have been so blessed to be able to share."
Lisa Wolf, CURE's vice president for donor relations, said her organization operated in 20 countries across Asia, Central America and Africa. Citing the extreme poverty in many of those regions, she said some ill children there felt cursed by their suffering. As such, she said, explaining Christ's love for them was crucial in their new partnership with Tebow's foundation.
"The medical care we provide opens doors for the Gospel," she said. "The synergy between CURE and the Tim Tebow Foundation is very neat. Both of our organizations give children new opportunities for life not just here but for all eternity."
Brantner said the new pairing between the two groups was one that would heal those hurting for the foreseeable future. With so much potential, he said it seemed like a touchdown for everyone involved.
"We go after some of the most marginalized children in the poorest countries in the world," Brantner stated. "We take our missions seriously and to be partnered together is to be ready for the long-haul."