The Marty Lyons Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, charitable, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization, incorporated in New York, October 1982. The Foundation (MLF) was established to fulfill the special wishes of children, chronologically aged 3 to 17 years, who have been diagnosed as having a terminal or life-threatening illness.
These wish applicants must reside or are being treated in a geographic area where the Foundation is registered. Headquartered in New York City, MLF currently has 10 chapters granting wishes in 13 states - Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,Texas and Virginia.
MLF does not make any distinction in granting a wish relative to race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or language.
Program Services: 1st and 2nd Wish Programs: While there are many wish granting organizations locally and nationally which grants first wishes only, The Marty Lyons Foundation remains the only wish granting organization to provide a 1st wish as well as a 2nd wish to children who fell out of remission, were now facing more battles with their illnesses and facing the reality of death. The 2nd Wish Program is to grant wishes to children who have received a first wish 24 months prior and have exhausted all medical options and are essentially at end-of-life stage or receiving palliative care.
As a defensive lineman, Marty Lyons was a 12-year veteran of the New York Jets football team. A hero both on and off the field, Marty eventually came to an unusual crossroads. "In March 1982, three events altered my life. In the period of one week, my father, Leo, passed away suddenly; Keith, a little boy to whom I was a Big Brother, passed away from leukemia; and my first son, Rocky, was born. Imagine being on top of the world, and in the period of seven days you are forced to see the frailty, unfairness, and the wonder of life. I decided to use my name and my God-given talent to make a difference in the lives of terminally ill children. "
With the encouragement and assistance of family and friends, he became determined to establish a foundation dedicated to helping children find the courage and strength to fight their illnesses. His idea was that through the granting of a wish, he'd foster hope and inspiration in a child by making possible what had been perceived as impossible. So in December 1982, he founded The Marty Lyons Foundation, and over the last 30 years, it has never slowed in its commitment to helping those in need.