When we lost Hayden, we had no idea what we were supposed to do next.  We were in shock.  We had just lost our newborn ... our baby boy who was born PERFECTLY HEALTHY!  How does this happen?  Shock turned to extreme sadness ... sadness turned to extreme ANGER.  Now, don't get us wrong, we are still dealing with and feeling all of these emotions.  Some days, the emotions are excruciating.  Some days, things seem to be improving until, WHAM, it hits you again.   This is easily the most difficult thing our family has ever faced. 

Generosity - and MAD skill...

It's been far too long since I've written on this website.  An incredibly busy work schedule combined with our newest addition, Leighton Hayden, in August have created quite a busy fall -- or as we in the business call it -- "football season."  

But a friend of mine has given me absolute reason to pay tribute -- James Fraschilla, a guard on the University of Oklahoma basketball team - has put together a SECOND "trick-shot" video to honor Hayden's Hope -- and to hopefully inspire some of you to donate to our cause, in memory of our son Hayden, who passed away after 39 days last September.  I will post the link at the bottom of this page... but please read your way to it.  

We Did It! All of Us!

$50,000!  That was our goal.  And thanks to all of you who donated to Hayden's Hope, we reached that goal.  $50,000 donated to assist families of children awaiting or having just received a life-saving organ transplant.  

Jenn and I cannot express adequately what it means that you have thought enough of our little boy, Hayden, to give in his honor.  And we know that our little man is proud as well - proud of everybody who gave to this important cause.

There is no way we would allow his short time on this Earth to come and go and not mean as much as it could.  And thanks to your generosity, Hayden Michael Nowkhah continues to give hope and make a difference. 

The reaching of this goal means more than you will ever realize.  And we are not stopping at $50,000.  We will never stop.  He will never be forgotten. 


To My Boy

Note to Readers:  This is not a blog about seeking monetary donations.  It's not about reminding anybody of the need for blood or organ donations.  I'm not tweeting the link or putting it on Facebook.  Feel free to read but this is the only way I can say what I want to say right now. 


Dear Sweet Hayden,

A 12-Year-Old Role Model

Morgan's Beautiful Hearts

Morgan, we are incredibly proud of you. 

Morgan is the 12-year-old daughter of good friends Adam and Tammi here in North Carolina.  And she has an incredible grasp of what really matters.  When she and her classmates were recently asked to choose a charity they thought would be worthy of school-assisted fund raising, Morgan looked down at her wrist, saw her Hayden's Hope wristband and immediately knew... Hayden's Hope was worthy. 

Morgan then wrote a paper explaining why Hayden's Hope should be the charity for which her school helps raise money.  Her class agreed.  And we are humbled.. by the school, by the administration and mostly, by Morgan. 

Connecting My Hayden and My Grandpa

Father and son sharing this moment of giving

Yes, we want Hayden's Hope to raise money for families of children during their wait or recovery from a life-saving organ transplant.   We also want to raise awareness of the need for pediatric organ donation.  Parents never think of the unthinkable - what happens if my child doesn't make it.  The fact is that child can save the lives of multiple children.  All it takes is that grieving parent making a very difficult decision. 

Checkers with the Checkers - Awesome

I know you've probably seen me thank the Charlotte Checkers before, likely via Twitter.  But I want to thank them again.  The American Hockey League team here held a "Checkers with the Checkers" night, with every dollar raised going to Hayden's Hope.   Fans of this team came out to Buffalo Wild Wings and played in a 64-person Checkers tournament - several Checkers hockey players were in the tourney...

$10 a person raised over $600 alone... Then, the Checkers (and I) donated plenty of items for auction, raffled off prizes and when it was said and done, over $2600 was raised.  Then, the surprise - the Checkers matched the total, giving over $5300 to our foundation to help families of children dealing with life-saving organ transplants. 

You Won the Auction Item

Now email us at and give us your mailing address.  Once you do that and the amount of the item is paid, we will send you the item.  One individual won the Texas signed football, another won the Oklahoma signed football and Fletch (a buddy whose address I have) won the Jason Sehorn jersey.  Get me your addresses please and payment as well to get your goods... Thanks!

Christmas Generosity and Appreciation

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Now, to the purpose of this particular blog.  Jenn and I want to thank every one of you who has decided to give to Hayden's Hope this holiday season.  Understanding that many of you give to a charitable organization around this time every year, we are humbled and honored that you have chosen to give to our little foundation.  And with your generosity, our "little" foundation can hopefully become our "big" foundation.  We've said it before, but seeing Hayden's name and Hayden's short life still help others helps us deal with the loss of our little buddy.  

Get Your Wristbands!

Erin Andrews and I on the red carpet at the Home Depot College Football Awards

Many of you have asked how you can get Hayden's Hope wristbands.  And we would love to get them on your wrists, much like we have gotten them on the wrists of so many family and friends... If you watch ESPNU, you'll see one constantly on my right wrist.  Many, many of our analysts also wear them.  As you can see in the picture, Erin Andrews is now rocking one.  It's easy to hand them out to people we see and know, but since it's just Jenn and me doing the shipping to everybody else, it's hard to say "Sure, how many do you want and where do you live and we'll send them your way."  It's hard to spend half of the day packaging them up and heading to the post office.  Also, we are trying to raise money as well as awareness.  So we've come up with a plan and we hope you will like it. 

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