Over the past week, I had the honor of performing with Jellyroll for two very inspiring people, Adam Taliaferro and Kevin Reilly. Adam is the founder of the Adam Taliaferro Foundation; and Kevin is a Comcast Sports broadcaster and motivational speaker. Both Adam and Kevin had great football careers cut short at young ages, in the prime of their careers. Adam suffered a paralyzing injury while playing for Penn State, and Kevin lost an arm to cancer during his NFL career, where he played for our Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.
Adam was told he would never walk again after his injury. He didn’t hear that, and went on to lead the Penn State Nittany Lion football team onto the field less than a year later, first walking, then jogging, in front of over 100,000 fans. After Kevin’s diagnosis with a rare cancer ended his football career, he underwent several surgeries and lost an arm. Kevin worked hard to overcome the challenge and now helps other amputees, sharing his story with cancer patients, soldiers, and others.
Jellyroll performed at Adam’s wedding back in 2011. It was there where Adam and his wife Erin, became not only Jellyroll fans, but friends of ours. The Adam Taliaferro Foundation celebrated its 15th year at The Rittenhouse Hotel and Jellyroll provided the soundtrack for the party. The foundation has raised over $1 million for spinal cord injured patients and research. At the gala, Eric LeGrand, Rutgers defensive tackle, who was paralyzed making a tackle, was honored. It was an amazing night for the band, as well as the gala guests.
I first met Kevin while he was speaking at my son’s football banquet a few years ago. Kevin motivated and inspired the players, as well as their parents. Then, Jellyroll performed at the Better Business Bureau of Delaware’s 50th anniversary gala at World Cafe at the Queen Theater, where Kevin was the emcee and guest speaker. Kevin was inspiring and entertaining. At one point, Kevin even showed off some dance moves on stage with Jellyroll.
We are blessed as musicians to do what we love while making people happy. Becoming friends with such inspiring people at our shows makes it even better. Thinking about what Adam and Kevin have overcome is inspiring and motivating for us all. Thank you Adam and Kevin for never giving up, and making so many other lives better along the way!