NEW YORK, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- (http://www.myprgenie.com) -- The Christophers named the recipients of two special Christopher Awards, to be presented at the 63rd annual ceremony in New York on Thursday, May 24th.
Marty Lyons, former defensive lineman for the New York Jets and ESPN Radio color analyst, will receive the James Keller Award for his work as founder of The Marty Lyons Foundation, which has offered hope and inspiration to over 6,000 seriously ill children and teens in its 30 years. Since 1987, the James Keller Award -- named after The Christophers' founder -- recognizes adults who impact the lives of children, and young people who change the world.
The Life Achievement Award will be presented to Mother Dolores Hart, a former actress who became a Benedictine nun and was recently profiled in the Oscar-nominated documentary "God is the Bigger Elvis."
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Dolores Hart enjoyed a successful acting career. In films, she co-starred with Robert Wagner, Anthony Quinn, and Elvis Presley, and was the first actress to kiss Elvis on screen. She portrayed St. Clare in the film "Francis of Assisi." Yet she felt a spiritual call that led her to give up acting to become a cloistered Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.
Though life at the Abbey focuses on prayer, Mother Dolores never ended her connection to the arts. With close friend Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, she built a performing arts center on the Abbey grounds, which hosts a wide range of community productions. She remains an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, giving her a vote that helps determine each year's Oscar winners.
James Keller Award-winner Marty Lyons spent 12 years as a Jets lineman.
In 1982, Lyons experienced several life-changing events in a week. "My father, Leo, passed away suddenly," he recalls. "Keith, a young boy to whom I was a Big Brother passed away from leukemia; and my first son, Rocky, was born. Imagine in seven days being forced to see the frailty, unfairness, and the wonder of life. I decided to use my fame to make a difference in the lives of terminally ill children."
The Marty Lyons Foundation has nine chapters serving 12 states. Among the over 6,000 wishes the Foundation has granted, it provided a seizure-alert dog for a teen, a trip for a 13-year-old girl dying from leukemia to visit her extended family, and sent a Long Island, N.Y. boy with a rare genetic disease to Disney World with his family.
The Christopher Awards recognize books, films and TV/Cable programs that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." The non-profit organization is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity. For more information, visit www.christophers.org
SOURCE The Christophers