Nyheim Hines had a challenging 2022 season as he was traded from the Colts to the Buffalo Bills after he spent the first four full seasons of his NFL career in Indianapolis. But for the veteran running back, life on the field can pale in comparison to what’s happening off it.
Hines recently partnered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to launch MDA Shamrocks, the largest St. Patrick’s Day fundraising campaign, to help children and adults who are living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases. The funds are used to advance the care of those suffering, advocate for support of families living with the disease, and research.
Hines knows firsthand just how difficult it can be.
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"The disease affects me personally and I’m connected with it because my grandmother had it in 2004. A relative before, who I’m not even sure about had it. It’s been in every generation of my family. My mother’s living with it and my uncle’s living with it," Hines told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. "It’s really been important to me to use my platform to not only give hope, but it’s to inspire people.
"Also, for me personally, just to meet other people. I never met anybody who is living with a struggle like myself until I started doing work for the MDA. It’s very, very near and dear to my heart."
The 26-year-old explained to Fox News Digital exactly what’s happening with his family members.
"Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disease so your muscles deteriorate and really there’s every struggle," he said. "Having been with my mom on it, it’s hard for her to move. Chewing food is getting harder, anything that we took for granted."
Hines said he helps his mom brush her hair, get her eyelashes on, brush her teeth – a lot of things people without the disease may take for granted at times.
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"As a man, I’ve never had to do. It’s hard to do," Hines said. "Those are the things we take for granted, that everybody takes for granted, but somebody like my mom or people who are plagued by muscular dystrophy are not."
Hines is about to enter his sixth professional season but with the success on the field comes the challenges off it.
When asked how he’s able to balance it, Hines admitted he didn’t know.
"I have a great team and great family," he said. "In 2020-21, my mom fell and broke her hip and was in the hospital for over 100 days. Honestly, it was real tough. But in those times, you really lean on your friends and family and my twin sister."
Now, Hines is hoping his story can help inspire others.
The MDA partnered with several different retailers and consumers have the ability to round up their purchases or donate money at a store for the cause.
"For more than four decades, the MDA Shamrocks campaign has raised over $343 million and funded innovative research, care and life-changing experiences such as MDA Summer Camp," MDA’s chief development officer Jeremy Kraut-Ordover said in a news release. "We are extremely grateful for the generosity of retailers who partner with us year after year, and their loyal customers, who empower the people we serve to live longer, more independent lives."
The campaign runs from the rest of February through March.