Vanderbilt’s Jameson Wharton Tackles Cancer With Charity Football Game

by | Feb 2024

JAMESON WHARTON, a standout player for the Vanderbilt football team, is making an impact not just on the field but also in the lives of people battling cancer with his annual event, “Football for the Cure.” His philanthropy journey began at the tender age of 9, inspired by a loss that struck close to home.

“I started when I was 9 years old, and really, my Aunt Susie had passed away from ovarian cancer, so I went to my grandma’s house and just started thinking up the idea,” Wharton said.

He described how he initially came up with the idea: “I drew pictures of jerseys and of the event on some paper plates, and my mom saw them. She said, ‘We need to get you a notebook; these are like really good ideas.’ So my mom’s the one who said, ‘We gotta make this a real thing,’ and that’s how it all began in 2013.” 

Wharton, who played football at Hendersonville High School, now plays for an NCAA Division in college. He still returns to his hometown every year to host the event that started it all. 

He explained his motivation, saying, “I’m just right around the corner, so just to be able to go back to Hendersonville and do something that’s fun for the kids and gives back to the community is a great feeling. I’m also fortunate enough to attend Vanderbilt, where we have a hospital, so I can give back there as well.” 

This year’s event, which took place at the end of October, was a massive success. Wharton shared, “This year’s event was the biggest to date, with about a hundred and five kids participating, possibly more with late sign-ups. It was the biggest it’s ever been, and it was amazing to see everybody coming out, excited, with parents in attendance, a DJ providing music, and a great atmosphere.” For the event’s 10th Anniversary, Wharton was able to raise over $7,000.

When asked about whom the funds would benefit this year, Wharton mentioned a change from previous years. 

“Until this year, all the proceeds have gone to the American Cancer Society, but this year, we’re giving money to the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center and American Cancer Society Hope [Lodge].”

Wharton’s message to the community was clear. 

“It’s a good cause, and participating only costs $5 out of your pocket. It goes to a good cause, and it’s so much fun. So, for anyone who wants to come next year, know that you’re always welcome. And [to] anyone who wants to donate, you’re really making a difference.”

Wharton expressed his hope to continue this tradition for years to come, making a lasting impact on the lives of those battling cancer.

No matter where he ends up in his football career, he wants to continue to give back to his hometown. Wharton’s incredible efforts remind us that local heroes can make a big difference in their communities, one football game at a time. GN 

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