COLORADO SPRINGS — A football player, who used to play football for Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs is now using his platform as a Division I athlete in college to give back to the community. One of the charitable efforts he's giving back to, is helping a Pine Creek High School football player who was diagnosed with cancer, cover medical expenses.
His name is JoJo Domann, and he's an outside linebacker for the University of Nebraska. He said it's important to give back to the community who helped him get where he's at today.
"Colorado Springs made me. To have the opportunity and the platform to give back to that, means the world to me," said Domann. "Instead of how much can I get from this situation, I asked myself, how much can I give in this situation? I wanted to do something that benefitted more than just me and my pockets."
As a 5th year senior, what's making it easy for him to give back? In July, the NCAA implemented a policy called NIL, which allows college student athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness. Instead of using the platform for profit Domann, is giving back.
He partnered with Edgewater Insurance + Real Estate to create what's called the Husker Heartbeat Giveback. Domann picked six charities and the company picked six charities to give back to. For every game the Huskers have this season, $1,000 will be donated to a charity.
Domann chose three charitable efforts in Colorado Springs. He chose Compassional Int'l, a local organization that helps provide food and clothing to kids in need. He also chose to donate to the Pro Football Camp, which takes place in Colorado Springs every year and local athletes attend as well as professional football players.
He's also helping the Nowlin family in Colorado Springs cover medical expenses for their 15-year-old son Malakie, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma over the summer.
Malakai, whose nickname is "Kai" has been playing football since since 4th grade. He's now a freshman at Pine Creek High School. But this year, he's watching his teammates from the sidelines because of his diagnosis.
However, his story caught the attention of Domann. Their families have known one another for years because Domann played football with Kai's older brother at Pine Creek.
"Kai was the little kid running around at all our practices, at his older brother's practices, always light, always bringing laughter," said Domann.
Domann wanted to bring put a smile on Kai's face and after his diagnosis, he even invited Kai to a Huskers football home game.
"It was so exciting to go to Nebraska. It was such a kind thing for him to do, I was so excited to see him after a long time," said Kai, and then he showed off the signed gloves from Domann. "He's such a kind person, and such a giving person too, which is really nice."
"I was that child. I wasn't battling cancer, but I was that child looking for inspiration, looking for motivation," said Domann. "To create and opportunity to help a family that's close to me through a struggle and making the struggle a little less painful is amazing."
Domann said helping Kai and his family pay for medical expenses was an easy decision.
"I want to make the most out of it, and I feel like the best way to do that is invest in the community who got me here. To hear what Kai was going through with his cancer treatments, that was a no brainer for me to help their family out," said Domann.
Domann says he wants to make the most of his platform and continue to find ways to give back to the community.