Bears defensive back Charles Tillman is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award the NFL announced on Sunday.
The other finalists are Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk and San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. The winner will be announced before Super Bowl XLVI live on NBC on Feb. 5.
In 2005, the longtime Bear created the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation which has impacted over one million Chicago-area children and raised over 1.2 million, according to Chicagobears.com.
Its an extreme honor to be a finalist, Tillman told Chicagobears.com via telephone from Hawaii. In my eyes, all the guys who are nominated should get an award.
The foundation began by providing children with educational opportunities and resources to excel in the classroom. However, in 2008, when Tillman's three-month-old daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and received a heart transplant, the foundation changed it's mission and now works to improve the lives of critically and chronically ill children throughout the Chicago area by providing support and life-changing experiences.
One of Tillman's most successful programs is "Charles' Lockers," which provides children and families with notebook computers, DVD players, digital cameras and MP3 players while they undergo treatment.