"As an athlete and also as a Christian, God has challenged me to use my talents, treasures and time to help others," Barrow said. "I challenged other athletes to do the same. Hopefully we can change somebody's life forever."
Barrow came up with the idea following 9/11, when he saw what a positive impact he and his teammates had on the relatives and friends of the victims.
"You could just see the looks on the kids' faces, and their moms' and dads'," Barrow said. "They were angry; they were scared. But then when we came around, they would perk up. I just felt God put a heavy burden on my heart to do something for them."
So he went out and recruited a verifiable who's who of professional athletes to support the cause. Among Barrow's Giants teammates scheduled to attend are Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, Jason Sehorn and Ron Dayne.
Barrow said he expects to have more than 60 professional athletes on hand to lend their support to the good cause. Among those already committed:
Jets: Santana Moss and Sam Garnes, although more are expected
Eagles: Troy Vincent, Brian Dawkins and Blaine Bishop
Former Giant Jessie Armstead
Nets: Coach Byron Scott, Dikembe Mutombo and Kerry Kittles
Knicks: Allan Houston and Charlie Ward
WNBA: Swin Cash and Tamika Williams
Barrow added that he's trying to get some Yankees and Mets to attend, but that they're tough to round up since it's their off-season.
Players from the three local NHL clubs – Devils, Rangers and Islanders – are also expected to attend.
National superstars such as Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers and NHL great Mario Lemieux have donated autographed jerseys and other items. The Sports Celebrity Carnival will consist of three parts:
- Private VIP party for children – 5:30-7 p.m. Fun and games will abound as the children affected by 9/11 will interact with some of their pro heroes.
- Inspirational program – Immediately following the private party, doors will open to the general public at 7:15 p.m. Guests will be greeted with uplifting music, special presentations, speakers and a message of hope.
- Fundraiser – At the conclusion of the program, all attendees will have the opportunity to play carnival games, enjoy a celebrity autograph session from 8:45-9:45 p.m. and take part in the official sports memorabilia silent auctions. In addition to donations from Rodriguez and Lemieux, other great items from Brett Favre, Vince Carter and others will be available.
Ticket prices are $20 for adults, while children accompanied by an adult are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster at 212-307-7171. Group tickets are available for parties of 10 or more. For more information and for group sales reservations, please call 732-940-0477.
A good time is certain to be had by all. Don't miss out. You'll be sorry you did.
For Barrow, organizing the event was a no-brainer. "We can let people know that we haven't forgotten about them," he said. "We can inspire a mother or child that they can make it. Especially around the holiday season, that's usually the toughest time when you've lost someone.
"Let's celebrate hope. Life isn't over. We can inspire them and bring an everlasting smile to some of their faces. Forget a memorial service; that time is over. Now's the time to live and rejoice together."