By DIANE XAVIER
The Dallas Examiner
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott lives by three words of encouragement from his mother: faith, fight and finish. After the death of his mother, Peggy Prescott, who lost her battle to colon cancer in 2013, he established his Faith Fight Finish Foundation.
The formation of the foundation, which empowers families and communities to find strength through adversity, honors the life and strength of his mother. The work of the foundation, which focuses on three initiatives that include cancer research, mental health and suicide prevention, and bridging the gap between law enforcement and the communities that they serve, honors his brother, Jace, who died after he lost her battle to depression and anxiety in April 2020.
He talked with NBC 5 News’ Laura Harris about the work and mission of his foundation during the 13th annual Meal for the Minds Luncheon, May 10.
Prescott, the youngest of three children, discussed the deeper meaning behind his mantra that he learned from his mother.
“She left those three words for me and my two brothers,” he said. “Faith was for me; fight was for my older brother and finish was for my middle brother. I use those three words to create my foundation. And in my foundation, our mission statement is to invest in the future of our youth by hiring individuals and members in the community that create strength through adversity.
“So in all of that I say that everyone one of us goes through some kind of adversity whether alive, whether it be losing your mom from cancer, whether it be losing your brother from suicide or whether it be the law enforcement and stigma in the law enforcement that we are trying to break down. The barrier of whatever it is that we all have experienced something. So what we do in our foundation is we are trying to be there for you.”
Cancer is just one of the many pillars his foundation focuses on.
“Because my mom dealt with cancer, we do whatever we can to be there to help,” he said. “We are there to help cover people’s costs, medical costs, their travel to and from cancer appointments. Our second pillar is bridging the gap between law enforcement and who they serve and bringing that to attention. We all saw the senseless murder of George Floyd and that was a big stamp to put that there with my foundation. The third is the mental health aspect and to end suicide. Obviously, that pillar was started as you said in the introduction because my brother Jace, who actually would be 34 years today, passed away on April 23, 2020.”
Harris then revealed that African American males are the largest growing groups in people dying from suicide.
“That is a real statistic and the numbers have been growing since 2018. It is a real problem,” she said. “And many times, the problem comes because you don’t want to talk about it because it becomes this ‘Nobody wants to hear my problem,’ ‘I’m the one who is supposed to be strong for everyone else.’
Prescott replied that one must take care of oneself before he or she can help others.
“We have to be there for one another,” he said. “I like to think of us people as a fruit tree. I say that because I heard this from the great Dr. Myles Munroe. We are all fruit trees. You do not eat your own fruit. So, you have to take care of yourself so that your fruit grows for your neighbor.
“To me, that is to be my best. I have to take care of myself to make sure that I can give you everything that you deserve as your neighbor, because if I don’t fulfill who I am and know who I am and don’t work on myself, I am going to be cheating you, cheating my neighbor. And with the community or the leader of my team or if I am a CEO of my business, if you are not the best of what you can be, you are not fixing yourself – as they say on the airlines, put your mask on before you put somebody else’s mask on – so what are you going to do for them?”
Prescott encouraged everyone to focus on being themselves, being the best person they can be and being wholly centered or balanced in order to move forward to help others.
Harris also discussed the foundation’s work with underrepresented communities.
“Another thing your foundation does is closing the gap between minority communities and helping give people access to health care because mental health is health care and for whatever reason, people think it’s not,” Harris said. “They think it is like elective surgery. When someone needs mental health treatment, they need it now. Your organization and foundation really work to close those gaps.
Prescott revealed that the foundation works with other nonprofits to provide suicide intervention for those who may have limited or no access to mental health services.
“We are hoping that with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we can create a three digit number – just like 911, it would be 988 – that you can call at any time for whatsoever, where you can get somebody on the other side and get trained professionals to help you or somebody you know and they can give you the tools to deal with what you are dealing with such as depression and anxiety to help prevent suicide so hopefully, we can get that pushed, and that will be next summer,” Prescott said. “I think that can change so many lives. It will be a big step in overall what we are trying to do.”
For more information on the foundation’s services, visit https://www.faithfightfinish.org. The AFSP North Texas Chapter can be contacted through https://afsp.org/chapter/north-texas. Anyone in crisis can call 800-273-8255 or text “TALK” to 741741.