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My Generation

A Fight for Children's Lives

George Taliaferro broke football's racial barrier—now he helps fund organ transplants

George Taliaferro wanted to play football. It was the late 1930s and black boys weren’t welcome on the gridiron. But that didn’t stop Taliaferro. He went on to star at the University of Indiana and in 1949 became the first African-American ever drafted by the NFL.

See also: Debunking myths about organ donation.

George Taliaferro runs the football

— Corbis

Lauren Seiders is a lot like Taliaferro. She’s only four years old, but has fought adversity from birth. She had her first liver transplant at only 14 months old. Her second soon followed, and she underwent a multiple-organ transplant before age 3.

Lauren is a fighter; she prevailed. But then her family faced paying the huge costs of the surgeries not covered by insurance. That’s where Taliaferro and Lauren’s two worlds intersect. The former football star is now a driving force behind an organization that helps families defray the costs of children's organ transplants. And now he feels like the luckiest guy in the world.

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