The Mia Hamm Foundation is a non-profit, national organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for families in need of a marrow or cord blood transplant and to the development of more opportunities for young women in sports.
Created in 1999, the Mia Hamm Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for bone marrow/cord blood transplants, while also increasing opportunities for young women in sports, two issues of utmost importance in my life.
Support for Transplant Patients and Families:In 1997 my brother Garrett passed away from complications related to aplastic anemia, a rare bone marrow disease. As such, I have witnessed and experienced first hand the pain that goes with watching a loved one in desperate need of a transplant suffer. It goes without saying that Garrett's passing had a profound impact on my life's mission, one that was initially realized in 1999 with MHF's creation and expanded upon in 2001. It was during that year that MHF sponsored the first annual "Garrett Game," an all-star exhibition soccer match that helped raised funding to support transplant patients. In a particularly poignant moment, the MHF brought together marrow donors and recipients at halftime of the game. Undoubtedly, that moment was one of the most satisfying of my life and one that encapsulates the spirit and aims of my foundation into the present. Today, the "Garrett Game" has evolved into "The Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge," a match that carries on the spirit of raising funding to benefit transplant patients and their families.
Young Women in Sports: Needless to say, I would not have enjoyed the successful career I have without the efforts of other female pioneers who worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for women in sports. Today, I seek to follow in their footsteps. I am at once encouraged by the growth of opportunities for girls in recent years and eager to ensure that progress continue by working towards developing programs and initiatives for young women across the athletics spectrum.
Bone Marrow Info
The Mia Hamm Foundation is one of several organizations that honors bone marrow donors for their gift of life, celebrates the lives of bone marrow recipients, and raises awareness about the need for more bone marrow donor volunteers.
In particular, the need for bone marrow donors from ethnically and racially diverse communities is especially acute. To aid in the face of these struggles, the Mia Hamm Foundation and the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a non-profit that facilitates unrelated marrow and cord blood transplants as a single point of access, have committed themselves to diversifying the NMDP Registry of potential bone marrow donors and cord blood units.
Mia's Personal Commitment: Mia has participated in several events to support those suffering from bone marrow disease. In addition to her work with the Mia Hamm Foundation, she is a former member of the board of directors for The Marrow Foundation and has joined the NMDP Registry to encourage others to volunteer as potential bone marrow donors.
Celebrity Soccer Challenge:Mia Hamm and her husband Nomar Garciaparra host an annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge, a charity exhibition match benefitting Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation.
Donations raised by The Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge benefit bone marrow transplant patients and their families, with the proceeds directed towards Children's Hospital Los Angeles specifically. The Celebrity Soccer Challenge, which has raised important funds and registered as many as 700 new donors in given years, finds its inspiration in its predecessor: "The Garrett Game," a similarly star studded affair named after Mia's late brother, who died in 1997 from a bone marrow disease.
Cord Blood Info
Stem cells are found throughout the body, including in bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood. The Mia Hamm Foundation has directed its efforts to educating the public about the far reaching effects of cord blood stem cells, a powerful group that has the ability to treat, repair, and replace damaged cells in the body. Today, these cord blood stems cells, which are free of ethical and political debate, have been used to treat more than 10,000 patients suffering from over 70 life-threatening diseases, including a wide range of cancers and genetic disorders.
The MHF has partnered with Viacord to encourage families to store their babies' umblical cord stem cells for potential medical use. The collection process is safe and painless, and storing a newborn’s cord blood ensures that should a need arise, the child, and often other siblings, would have a source of stem cells that is an exact match. The future of cellular medicine holds exciting possibilities, and the Mia Hamm Foundation is proud to aid the progress through its partnership with Viacord. To learn more about Viacord and cord blood banking, please visit www.viacord.com.
Girls In Sports
The Mia Hamm Foundation is committed to furthering the groundbreaking growth of female participation in sports that has occurred under Title IX, the landmark 1972 legislation that bans sex discrimination in academics and athletics at educational institutions across the country.
Title IX and College Athletics: Title IX governs the overall equity of treatment and opportunity in athletics while giving schools the flexibility to choose sports based on several factors, including student body interest and gender ratio. Title IX does not, then, necessarily concern itself with individual cases, with whetherwomen can participate in wrestling, for example, or whether exactly the same amount of money is spent on women's and men's basketball. Rather, Title IX concerns itself with the big picture, with ensuring that women have equal opportunities to men on the whole. As such, determining an institution's compliance is a matter of an all-encompassing and program-wide, as opposed to sport-by-sport, review.
Undoubtedly, Title IX has been essential in increasing the amount of women that not only participate in athletics at the college level but that receive scholarships to do so. Nonetheless, the need to encourage young girls to get excited about sports and, by extension, realize the goals of Title IX persists. Through our annual grant application process, the Mia Hamm Foundation works to do just that. To find out more about Title IX and its impact on women’s sports, please visit the Title IX website. Similarly, if you are interested in other organizations that are committed to the goals of Title IX, we encourage you to visit theWomen’s Sports Foundation.
After 17 years, two World Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals, and near unparalleled success as a marketing icon, Mia Hamm retired from professional soccer in 2004 as not only the best women’s soccer player in history but also as one of the most important and recognizable female figures in the history of sport.
Hailed by ESPN as the greatest female athlete of the past 40 years, Hamm was the youngest woman to ever appear in a match for the US Senior Squad at just 15 years old in 1987, and during her illustrious career playing for the national team shattered a litany of American records, most notably those for international goals (158) and assists (144). She starred on female sports’ biggest and most watched stages, guiding the United States to gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and at the now iconic 1999 World Cup on American soil, and in the process became one of the most marketable athletes, male or female, of her era. Indeed, her play at the ’96 Olympics in particular prompted Nike chairman Phil Knight to claim that Hamm was one of three athletes, along with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, to have “played at a level that added a new dimension to their games.” As further tribute to her impact, Knight named the largest building on the Nike campus after Hamm in 1999.
Prior to much of her national team success, Hamm starred on the collegiate level at the University of North Carolina, where she led the Tar Heels to four consecutive NCAA Championships and was three times named an All American. Among her other accolades, Hamm was twice awarded the ESPY for Female Athlete of the Year (1998 and ’99) and was twice named FIFA Women’s Player of the Year (2001 and ’02). She was one of only two women named by Pele to FIFA’s best 125 players in 2004 and in 2007 was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
In the years since her dominant run on the global stage as a player, Hamm has continued to serve as an inspiration to young girls looking to rise to the pinnacle of the sporting world. Indeed, she has maintained an active presence within the soccer community and has served as an outspoken advocate for Title IX and gender equality across sporting lines, all the while cementing her status as the face of not merely a sport but rather of an entire generation of female athletes.
Today, Mia resides in Southern California, where, along with her husband Nomar Garciaparra, she raises her twin daughters Ava and Grace and her son Garrett.
ATHLETES FOR HOPE: In 2007, Mia was part of a group of 11 athletes who came together to found Athletes For Hope, a non-profit organization whose goal is to encourage and assist athletes in their efforts to contribute to community and charitable causes. Today, Athletes For Hope is engaged with a roster of over 2,000 athletes from over 20 different leagues.
BE THE MATCH: MHF participates in events with Be The Match to register bone marrow donors. At the 4th Annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge alone, 200 people added their names to the Be The Match National Bone Marrow Registry.
SOCCER FOR HOPE: Another charity that Mia and the MHF are proud to support is Soccer for Hope, which was created in 1998 by our friends Oliver and Jamie Wyss. Soccer for Hope hosts camps and other events to raise funding and awareness for children with life-threatening diseases.