U of M QB Given National Service Award for Work at St. Jude

U of M QB Given National Service Award for Work at St. Jude

Jacob thought he was spending another day volunteering and visiting with patients. Instead everyone was waiting to see him. Karam had no idea what was happening when he walked into a hospital full of cheers and applause.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com)-- Jacob Karam is one of the University of Memphis' most popular athletes. He's a quarterback on the football team. He is just as well known for his volunteer work, particularly at St. Jude.

We did a story with Jacob this summer. Thousands of people around the country saw a video of him playing the piano with Breanna, an 11 year old cancer patient.

His volunteer work has gotten the nation's attention. This morning, he had a big surprise waiting on him at St. Jude.

Jacob thought he was spending another day volunteering and visiting with patients. Instead everyone was waiting to see him.

Karam had no idea what was happening when he walked into a hospital full of cheers and applause.

"I was shocked. I still am surprised," he laughs.

He was greeted with a big hug from Breanna. She and dozens of others came for the surprise ceremony honoring him.

Karam has just been awarded one of college football's premiere service awards, being named to a new national team.

"The 2013 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team," says Collierville Allstate agent Rod Lovelace who presented the award on behalf of the company.

150 players are nominated. Only 22 are chosen. They represent country's top athletes who give back to their cities.

Jacob won for his volunteer work with kids at St. Jude. The hospital holds a special place for him and his family. The Karams are Lebanese.

"Just growing up with Danny Thomas being Lebanese and ALSAC, the American Lebanese and Syrian Charities, we've always been taught to support St. Jude. We knew the story growing up as kids and everything."

Karam's the first University of Memphis athlete to earn a spot on the team. His fellow Memphis players are cheering him on.

"He cares about others," says teammate Antonio Foster. "He's always happy. You won't see Jacob down."

"I went to Texas Tech out of high school," Karam says. "Things didn't work out for me over there. I always wondered why and I really feel like God brought me here to Memphis to of course play football and be a student here, but also to give back in the community. It just goes to show God's plan is always a lot better than mine is."

"As college athletes we're put on a platform. It's amazing we get so much attention, but the kids who are fighting and their families are true heroes," he says.

"I'm very humbled. Thanks so much supporting and just Go Tigers!"

Just like any other team, they have to pick a captain. The public get to decides who that is.

All 22 players are listed on ESPN's website at http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/allstate/2013/goodworks/phase1/index

You can vote for Jacob there once a day through November 11th.

The awards team players are also invited to New Orleans in January for a special community event before the Sugar Bowl.
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