Human Rights Day has been observed on December 10th for more than half a century.  It’s a day to recognize the rights everyone is entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, creed, color or gender.

One Super Bowl Champion  wants palliative care to be one of those rights.

George Koonce was a  key player in the championship Packers team that  brought the Lombardi trophy back to Titletown in Super Bowl XXXI. Now he’s asking the community to help him score a “Touchdown for Humanity.”

“My life has changed from being part of that organization,” Koonce said, referring to the Green Bay Packers.  An organization for whom he still sits on the board.

The former packer linebacker recalls playing on the Frozen Tundra as one of the best times of his life.

“It was a dream come true to play for the Green Bay Packers and to partner up with Brett Favre and Reggie White,” remembered Koonce.

Koonce has also faced some of life’s toughest times; losing his wife to cancer in the years following his championship football career.

“Unfortunately, for me and my family, it was breast cancer with my late wife,”  Koonce said.

Koonce said being part of a palliative care team that supported his wife and family during that difficult time should be a basic human right for everyone.  Yet, many people do not have access to the medicines or end-of-life care they need.

“There should be  some type of humanity, no matter what the situation or end of your life,” Koonce said.

Koonce is bringing awareness to the issue through a public service announcement “Touchdown for Humanity.” 

So that everyone can share his feeling of being part of a great team.

“Reggie White would always say, ‘If you win a championship in Green Bay it will be life changing,’” Koonce recalled.  “I came to Green Bay when I was 23 years old.   I’ve been her for 27, 28  years and Reggie White was exactly right.” 

Koonce says with so many people around the world being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the subject of end-of-life care is more important now than ever.

“We know that the community, the country is suffering and experiencing COVID-19, so I wanted to team up with the people at Indiana University Palliative Care and globally with the United Nations, to start a movement,” Koonce explained.

After football, Koonce earned his Ph.D. in Sport Administration at Marquette University in Milwaukee.  He currently serves as Senior Vice President for University Relations at Marian University in Fond du Lac.

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