DALLAS – In his heart of hearts, Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell knew he had to do something that was very impactful.
Cancer had altered Powell’s life for good, disrupted his way of living and changed everything in his mind, body and soul. That all occurred on Sept. 13, 2012, when Powell’s mother – Jacqueline Weir – abruptly died of breast cancer at the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, MA, at the age of 53.
It was an obvious gut-punching set of circumstances for Powell, whose mother never told him she was sick because she didn’t want him to be worried about her. Powell, at the time, had just started his junior season at Stanford.
Powell said: “I don’t think she realized the severity of the situation that she was in.”
Weir never saw her son play a professional NBA game, but her memory and spirit shines brighter than ever through her only child. Six years after her death, Powell has turned his pain into purpose and launched the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
The Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund was made possible by the generous support from Powell after hosting “A Night of Hope” function back in October. The event raised over $610,000 to provide guidance, education, and resources to help patients and their children cope with cancer.
Powell said the event raised enough to support the fund for three years and is an ongoing mission that he hopes to continue in the future.
Last October, the NBA took noticed and honored Powell with the October NBA Cares Community Assist Award, marking the second season in a row that a Mavs player was named a finalist for the seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award (veteran guard J.J. Barea was a finalist last season).
Just like Barea, Powell is now one of just 10 NBA vying for the coveted 2018-19 seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award. The season-long award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting their communities through sustained efforts over the course of the season. The winning player will receive $25,000 to donate to their charity a choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.
“We’re still trying to raise some more funds. We met our goals, so we’ll have three years of the program set up at UT-Southwestern, which is amazing. People were very generous. Some people donated twice, which was surprising but was great.”
Even more remarkable? In a digital media age where young people love to post their every move, Powell did the complete opposite and kept the entire event closed to media and the spotlight, choosing to keep the event an intimate affair so that families were free to mingle and share their stories.
“It was a great opportunity to spread awareness and bring people together,” Powell was. “Whether it was to raise funds or support one another, at the end of the day we need to do all we can do every day of the year to try and help people in situations where they need help.”
The night of the event, Powell told his story of the day his mom died, and what she meant to him and how her death has impacted his life.
“After hearing him speak about it, it was a riveting set of circumstances and I could see why he was so vigilante about getting this started and I can see why there’s been so much support in such a very short period of time,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. “A lot of these gatherings they do live auctions on-sight.
Even though there are no photos and videos from the event, the NBA understood the impact Powell made on the committee and celebrated his efforts by giving him the October NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
The Mavs also showed their support for Powell in many ways, choosing Powell to address the crowd on Breast Health Awareness night last October.
That moment and all that it entails isn’t lost on Powell.
“It means a lot,” the five-year veteran said. “Obviously for me personally, but as a player in this league and a member of this franchise I’m proud to say I’m a Mavericks because we do things like this and we’re in the community so much.
Carlisle is always touched when his players reach out beyond the boundaries of the basketball court and help those in the communities where they make their living.
“It’s a fund that Dwight has started to raise money for people in what I would call distressed family cancer situations,” Carlisle said. “It’s a gut-wrenching thing for someone to talk about. When he spoke about it you could understand his passion for it.
“He lost his mom to cancer. It was a very quick situation. This fund is going to offer people the opportunity to cope better, to deal with situations, to provide resources, and to get through difficult transitions when these kinds of things happen.”
POWELL NAMED A FINALIST FOR THE SEASONLONG NBA CARES COMMUNITY ASSIST AWARD
The NBA announced today that Powell has been named as a finalist for the 2018-19 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
“We’re so glad we can spotlight the work Dwight is doing in the community here in Dallas – the honor is well deserved,” said Katie Edwards, Mavs VP of Community Relations. “Not only is he passionate about supporting families affected by cancer, but his focus on strengthening education and helping those in need makes him a hero in my book.”
The Mavs also showed their support for Powell in many ways, making a donation in his honor and choosing Powell to address the crowd on Breast Health Awareness night last October.
Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the season-long award honors a player’s strong commitment to positively impacting his community through sustained efforts over the course of the season. Highlights of Powell’s work in the community throughout the season can be seen here.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 24, 2019
Fans can vote for Powell via Jebbit, where they can view and select videos highlighting his impact, or on Twitter by using #NBACommunityAssist and @DwightPowell33 or #DwightPowell. Retweets are also counted and votes cast on the first and last day (April 24 and May 5) will count twice towards a player’s total. Fan voting for the award began today on social media and will conclude on Sunday, May 5, at 10:59 p.m CT. The winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24, on TNT live from historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
The 10 nominees include the offseason winner, six monthly winners and three additional players selected by the NBA for their exceptional community work. The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities, and honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece.
DWIGHT POWELL | COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS
Beneficiary: Champions of Discovery
After losing his mother to breast cancer in 2012, Dwight Powell prioritizes easing the burden of families dealing with cancer so parents don’t have to choose between paying for treatment and taking care of their family members. As such, Dwight hosted 120 survivors at “A Night of Hope” fundraiser where they announced a $610,000 gift to UT Southwestern Cancer. In partnership with UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dwight collaborated with hospital staff to create the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund – which provides guidance, education, and resources for patients and families coping with cancer. Lastly, Dwight launched the Venture-Entrepreneurial Expedition program designed to teach students to think about business and life through an entrepreneurial lens.
2018-19 SEASONLONG NBA CARES FINALISTS:
|Jarrett Allen||Brooklyn Nets||https://youtu.be/jS9WPJzTkd0|
|Bradley Beal||Washington Wizards||https://youtu.be/rqjwUEwceZc|
|Mike Conley||Memphis Grizzlies||https://youtu.be/hogoeifXNRA|
|Tobias Harris||Philadelphia 76ers||https://youtu.be/QeyFuoMrStA|
|LeBron James||Los Angeles Lakers||https://youtu.be/1QpELZ5_ht4|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||https://youtu.be/J-YBbilV8Nw|
|Khris Middleton||Milwaukee Bucks||https://youtu.be/yr1-lC0Eg-I|
|Donovan Mitchell||Utah Jazz||https://youtu.be/BapseJvM3uA|
|Dwight Powell||Dallas Mavericks||https://youtu.be/uhXjF-Jdd6E|
|Pascal Siakam||Toronto Raptors||https://youtu.be/uaUJ-2eNs8U|
— Tamara Jolee (@TamaraJolee) April 24, 2019
— Mike Shedd (@Shredd74) April 24, 2019
Note: Mavs beat writers Dwain Price helped contribute to this report. To read his full story on Dwight Powell’s “Night of Hope” – click here.