Julie Nelson interviews Collins & Leigh Anne Tuohy
MINNEAPOLIS -- Their story was the inspiration for a big screen hit that landed Sandra Bullock an Oscar as Best Actress.
But the Tuohy family is using the fame that came along with "The Blind Side" to spread a powerful message; Everyone has the power to change a life the way they helped change Michael Oher.
"We all have value, that's the message, that Michael was basically deemed valueless by society," Leigh Anne Tuohy told KARE 11 anchor Julie Nelson, "and look what happens when you take a child in and give him hope, love, and opportunity it'll change a life. "
"We fully believe and we'll say it every time, that the kid with the cure for cancer is walking around inner-city Memphis, Tennessee and all he needs is an opportunity," she added.
The Tuohys took Oher in off the streets of Memphis, adopted him, gave him food, shelter and love, then helped mold him into an all-american offensive tackle. In 2009 he was a first round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens who played in every game.
Thursday night the family was in Minneapolis for the annual 'TreeHouse Gala,' an event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the program that reaches out to at-risk teens.
"They know there are kids in this city with issues that cannot be handled by anyone else," said Collins Tuohy, Leigh Anne's daughter and Michael's sister. "They popped up in their face, they stopped, and they're helping them. So I think you're remiss if you don't take advantage of having such a wonderful facility in the city that is helping those who are unhelped. So if you don't go out there and help em, who else is?"
Leigh Anne Tuohy says Oher's story of rising from the streets to find a home and a family who loves him and professional success hits home with young people who face the same problems he had.
"Yeah, we just did this Tuesday with him, a very large group of kids when he walked in, you could hear a pin drop when he was talking," Tuohy recalled. "It is impactful, he will tell them 'listen to your teachers, listen to the adults, listen to the counselors...' if the appropriate help is given to you, take advantage of it."
There were plenty of laughs when Julie asked the Tuohys about the fame and notoriety that has befallen them since the movie became a runaway hit. "At some point, we would like to go back to our old life. I used to think that was going to happen, but I'm not sure now that it will," mused Leigh Anne Tuohy. "We're on the road God wants us to be on, so we're just holding on for dear life."
(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)