Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott lost his mother, Peggy, to colon cancer in November 2013, when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Mississippi State. One year later, Prescott led the Bulldogs to a No. 1 national ranking in the fall of 2014. Last year, he was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year — while wearing the Cowboys’ jersey No. 4 in honor of Peggy’s birthday.
“Me and my mom’s bond was amazing. We were best friends,” Prescott told NFL Network. “She was everything. My coach, my mom, teacher; anything you can think of. It was deeper than just mom and son.”
One of the NFL’s brightest young stars, Prescott, 24, is using his personal platform and history to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. This summer, Prescott teamed with “Modern Family” actor Eric Stonestreet and actress Tia Mowry to promote the Ready. Raise. Rise. campaign in an effort to raise money and spread the word about an evolving area of cancer research called Immuno-Oncology (I-O).
“My mom courageously fought cancer, and I know how important the love and support of our friends and family were to her,” Prescott said. “Fighting cancer is something we need to take on together, as a team.”
Prescott also used the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign as a way to make his message more visible. The Cowboys QB wore cleats with the message “Fight, Finish, Faith” emblazoned across the shoes.
“The term ‘Fight, Finish, Faith’ was something my mom wanted to get across,” Prescott said. “She explained each one of her sons. My oldest brother, he was fight; he’s the oldest, he always fought for whatever he wanted. My middle brother was finish. And I was faith. Just always believing in myself, believing in other people, and that I could affect something bigger than just myself.”
Although Peggy is not alive to see her son’s tremendous success, the values she instilled in Dak are evident as he continues to work towards the ultimate goal of finding a cure for cancer. And Peggy remains a powerful source of inspiration.
“Everything I do in life,” Prescott said, “is to try to honor my mom.”