NFL players had the opportunity to participate in the NFL’s annual My Cause, My Cleats campaign during a designated home game between Weeks 13-15 of 2018. Tomlinson and his teammates represented their respective causes with custom-designed cleats in an effort to raise awareness and funding. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Tomlinson and his teammates joined Levi’s in support of breast, colon and pediatric cancer warriors at the Crucial Catch Fashion Show presented by Dignity Health on October 2, 2018. 49ers players and cancer warriors took to the runway to show off their attire and share their stories of strength and courage with the audience.
Growing up in Jamaica, Tomlinson always aspired to serve in the healthcare industry. After his football career, he plans to become a neurosurgeon. Tomlinson has always taken education seriously, commuting 90 minutes each day to and from school to receive a quality education in high school. He went on to graduate from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in evolutionary anthropology and psychology. While currently focused on football, Tomlinson still finds time to shadow doctors to help prepare for a career in the medical field after his retirement from the NFL. Athletes everywhere can look to Tomlinson as proof that balancing academics and athletics can be difficult but achievable. He enjoys being a role model for kids, but plans to take it a step further. “I want to improve the healthcare system in Jamaica. I believe it is the best way to directly help people in need and make a difference,” said Tomlinson.
The 49ers joined forces with Martha’s Kitchen of San Jose as part of their Community Tuesday kickoff event on September 11, 2018. Tomlinson and teammates took part in the event by serving dinner to nearly 200 residents in need, refilling beverages and bussing tables. Both the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium partner with Martha’s Kitchen throughout the year by donating excess food after stadium events. Martha’s Kitchen’s mission is to “feed the hungry with dignity, no questions asked, no judgements made.”
In 2014, Tomlinson won the Orange Bowl–FWAA Courage Award which is presented by a select group of writers from the FWAA to an athlete that displays courage on and off the field, including overcoming an injury or living through hardship. “My mother has been the greatest influence on my life, and none of this recognition would be possible without her sacrifice, love and support,” said Tomlinson as he received the award. After growing up in Jamaica and moving to the United States when he was 10, he gives all the credit for who he is today to his mother. “It means the world to me to make her proud. If not for her, I could still be in Jamaica, living a life of poverty. Every time I go home or have an opportunity to talk to my mother, she always tells me before she hangs up, ‘Laken, I love you and I’m extremely proud of you and everything that you do for our family. Keep doing what you are doing. The Lord has a plan for you, Laken.’”