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Deanna Favre captivated guests of an Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce event on Friday with an emotional and inspiring presentation as she discussed her bout with cancer and her family’s drive to turn times of adversity into positive moments worth remembering.
Following her remarks, Deanna also presented a $100,000 grant on behalf of the “Favre 4 Hope Foundation” to both the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota and the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation. Later on Friday afternoon, Deanna and Brett visited with patients and their families and presented two more donations at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
Deanna was introduced at the luncheon to a standing ovation and she brought about both laughter and tears as she briefly chronicled her life, from growing up in small-town Kiln, Mississippi, to dating and starting a family with Brett and then battling through adversity as a family. She shared stories of friendship with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses in Green Bay, the agony of losing family members and then her breast cancer diagnosis just days following the passing of her brother in a tragic ATV accident.
Deanna explained that she relied on faith and family during her battle against breast cancer and she also spoke about the importance of turning a negative situation into something positive.
“But more than anything,” she said, “cancer taught me not to take life for granted. To wake each morning grateful just to have another day of stuff to do. And to close my eyes each night with a prayer of thanks.
“Life has thrown us several curves, but we always manage to find a way to turn it into something positive.”
It was in the days and weeks following the Vikings overtime loss to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game when Deanna and Brett were moved to reach out to merge their two foundations – the Fourward Foundation and the Deanna Favre For Hope Foundation. It was this merger that made possible the $600,000 donation on Friday.
Deanna shared with the guests that as the Favres deliberated on whether Brett would play another NFL season in 2010 – the 20th of his career – it was the billboards near their home from Vikings fans that inspired them to do something special in the Minnesota community in the coming months.
Deanna also explained that it was during her bout with breast cancer when she realized the extreme costs associated with fighting the disease. She was moved by the stories of other patients who weren’t able to cover their expenses for various reasons and she reflected back on her time as a young mother barely able to make ends meet and wondered what she would’ve done had her diagnosis come at that vulnerable time.
“It’s in our difficult times that Brett and I have found hope in helping others,” Deanna said. “So many people talk about Brett’s legacy and I think they relate it to football always. But one of my favorite comments that Brett made was ‘If I am only remembered for my records, then I have done something wrong.’
“He really hopes to be remembered for his generosity to the less fortunate, his leadership, his own selfless character. The lives that we touch will ultimately make us a true success and worth remembering.”