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Tillman's ProBOWLer benefit a big success
June 7th, 2013

Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, prolanthropyBears fans and players flocked to Kings Lanes, Lounge & Sports in Rosemont Wednesday night for the second annual Charles Tillman Celebrity Pro BOWLer Tournament presented by Meijer.

For the second straight year, the event is expected to raise $160,000 for Tillman’s Cornerstone Foundation, which provides opportunities and resources for children and their families in need. 

“It’s great because this will fund some of the programs that we have coming up,” Tillman said at the event. “That’s a huge part of this. We can’t run our programs unless we raise money and the proceeds from this will help fund these programs, which benefit the greater Chicago area.”

Current and former Bears who participated in Tillman’s Pro BOWLer Tournament included Anthony Adams, Rashied Davis, Matt Forte, Chris Harris, Tim Jennings, Johnny Knox, Patrick Mannelly, Shea McClellin, Jason McKie, Adrian Peterson, Craig Steltz and Major Wright.

Others on hand included Jarrett Payton, the son of the late Bears legend Walter Payton; and former NBA star Antoine Walker, a Chicago native who attended Mount Carmel High School.

“We’re having a lot of fun out here,” Jennings said. “We’ve got a lot of athletes, so it’s competitive, and then you have the fans out here to join us and meet us, so everyone is out here enjoying this.”

The host of the event for the second straight year, Kings Lanes, Lounge & Sports is an expansive bowling, billiards, dining and cocktail venue that’s located in The MB Financial Park at Rosemont, a major new entertainment complex that is home to eight other restaurants and clubs.

“What makes this event very special is the support that I get from the community,” Tillman said. “I’m not a resident of Rosemont, but the Village of Rosemont shows me a lot of love when we have our events out here—and not just Rosemont but Kings itself.

“They are an organization that really wants to be a part of the community that they’re in. We’ve partnered together for two years and it has been a beautiful partnership. They stand for all the same things that we stand for at the foundation, so it couldn’t be better.

“I’ve got the support of my teammates that come out as well as the Bears fans in the area. So life is good, the foundation is good and tonight is a hit.”

Tillman feels that a bowling benefit gives participants as well as spectators a much better chance to interact with celebrities than other formats, such as a golf outing.

“With golf, you’re only playing with a group of three other people,” Tillman said. “With bowling, it gives you the opportunity to mingle with everybody, and that’s what I like about it. It’s raining outside and we’re inside listening to music and having a lot of fun.” 

Since its inception in 2005, the Cornerstone Foundation has impacted over one million Chicago-area children and raised over $1 million. The programs that will benefit from the funds raised Wednesday night include “Charles’ Locker,” “Field of Dreams,” “Holiday Celebration,” “TendHER Heart Luncheon” and “The Tiana Fund.”

Charles’ Locker gives children and their families access to iPads, notebook computers, DVD players, portable PlayStation game systems and other electronic handheld games to pass the time during recovery and treatment.

Field of Dreams provides magical memories to chronically and critically ill children and their families by fulfilling sports-related wishes and vacation dreams.

The Holiday Celebration takes place each December when Tillman and his wife Jackie visit a local hospital to pass out gifts, visit with families and partake in activities to spread holiday cheer.

The TendHER Heart Luncheon, which will be held June 15, honors mothers of chronically and critically ill children for the sacrifices they make in caring for their sick kids. 

The Tiana Fund provides assistance to economically at-risk families. The support is intended to strengthen their ability to care for themselves, enhance their stability and security, and improve their quality of life or their ability to contribute to the community.