When the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts its 2022 class this August in Canton, Ohio, Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer and Special Ambassador for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, will be among the eight Heroes of the Game receiving a gold jacket, bronze bust and place in NFL history. The Pro Football Hall of Fame unveiled its class of 2022 during Thursday night’s NFL Honors.
Bryant was selected by the 49ers in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft following an impressive college football career at Notre Dame. In his first season as defensive lineman, Bryant started every game and helped the 49ers secure the Super Bowl XXIX title. He spent his entire NFL career with San Francisco, retiring in 2007 as the team’s all-time sack leader, a four-time Pro Bowler, and four-time All-Pro pick. His career honors included being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1994, NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999, and a record-breaking eight-time recipient of the 49ers’ Len Eshmont Award for “inspirational and courageous play,” the franchise’s most prestigious honor. He was also inducted into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame in 2020.
While Bryant is a legend to many, his son Colby is Bryant’s superhero. Following a long and difficult battle with pediatric brain cancer, Colby passed away in 2016 at the age of 15.
Colby, who loved football and cooking, was originally taken to the pediatrician in 2014 because of a severe headache. As is too often the case with pediatric brain tumors, doctors initially thought he had a migraine or the flu. When the pain didn’t subside, Bryant and his wife Kristin brought Colby back to the doctor. A CAT scan revealed a golf ball-sized tumor in his head; surgery confirmed it was cancerous. Colby underwent radiation and chemotherapy and then participated in an immunotherapy clinical trial after relapsing.
Colby’s Story from Kristin Young on Vimeo.
Bryant, Kristin and Colby’s siblings walked the long and grueling journey alongside Colby, pillars of strength and courage for each other. In support of their brother, Colby’s three sisters and two brothers designed T-shirts with a Superman-themed logo and large “C” in the middle, which his family and several of Bryant’s former teammates wore during a 49ers game in Colby’s memory.
Before he passed away, Colby wanted to raise awareness for the 28,000 children and teens across the country who are battling the deadliest form of childhood cancer. He organized a “Change for Change” campaign with a goal of collecting $2,000 in spare change to donate to PBTF, the largest patient advocacy funder of pediatric brain tumor research. With the help of his high school, Charlotte Christian, Colby raised more than $50,000.
Today, the Youngs carry Colby’s legacy forward as champions for children, families and survivors battling brain tumors. Bryant has served as PBTF Special Ambassador since 2017, and Kristin serves as the Vice Chair of PBTF’s Board of Directors. Bryant also helmed last year’s PBTF GameON Game Changer Challenge as lead ambassador, bringing together professional livestreamers, the Charlotte Phoenix esports team, and other NFL stars to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research and family support programs that are extending and improving children’s lives.
“Bryant’s unwavering leadership and commitment – as a player, coach, father, husband, and advocate for pediatric brain tumor families – is an inspiration to everyone who knows him. The PBTF community congratulates him on this well-deserved honor, and we cannot wait to cheer him on when he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. As a champion for children like Colby, it is only fitting that the Hall of Fame jacket he’ll receive is gold, the color symbolic of the childhood cancer community,” says Courtney Davies, PBTF CEO and President.
Bryant will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, LeRoy Butler, Art McNally, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour and Dick Vermeil on Saturday, August 6 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
If your family has been impacted by a child’s brain tumor diagnosis, PBTF is ready with support from the moment symptoms start, along every step of the journey. Visit www.curethekids.org or call the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Helpline at 800-253-6530, x306 today.
About the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Every day, 13 children and teens are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the deadliest and most common form of cancer in kids under 15. Every day after, they are in a fight for their life. It’s a fight the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is here to help families win. The largest patient advocacy funder of pediatric brain tumor research and the leading champion for families and survivors, PBTF’s mission of Care. Cure. Thrive. reflects our commitment to curing all pediatric brain tumors and transforming how children and their families are cared for. Since 1991, PBTF has provided strategic leadership and funding to accelerate the number of targeted therapies for children battling brain tumors today, while equipping families with the patient-family education, financial relief, and emotional support they need to navigate their child’s journey. A world without childhood brain tumors is possible when we work together to put kids first. Learn more at www.curethekids.org.