The 3-minute interview with Harris Barton 

The stalwart offensive tackle of the 49ers teams that won Super Bowls in 1989, ’90 and ’95 and former teammate Ronnie Lott in 1999 created Champions Charities, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness of brain tumors and benefiting children and families in need. For the fourth consecutive year, Champions Charities will host a gala Saturday, with the proceeds of the performance of "The Color Purple" furthering the foundation’s goal of raising $10 million by 2010.

What was the genesis of this foundation? Both my parents passed from brain tumors. I decided I wanted to really do something — research, building patient services — and I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job of getting the word out there.

Can you talk a little about your how your parents were affected and what this means to you? For any family to go through it once is really a tragedy. To go through it twice, it’s very difficult. It affected myself and my family, my brother and sister. [Through this] you hope you can do a little good and lessen the blow to them.

What has been the biggest reward personally from this foundation? I think the Bay Area and the people we’ve reached out to have been very supportive. It’s very early in the process, but more and more people live a little bit longer with brain tumors and there is more success battling brain tumors. Putting a smile on peoples’ face and showing that you care, that’s the biggest reward so far.

Why choose a theater production to send the kids to? Both my parents were theater lovers, so putting something like this together was the right thing to do.


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Steve Drumwright

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