Face of Wiggins Park battling cancer while continuing to help neighborhood kids

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 1:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Vernon Brown has been the park commissioner at Wiggins Park for the last 16 years. Being from the Jones Valley neighborhood himself, he wanted to give the local children a place to be involved.

“I just wanted to help kids. I’m from this community, the 35211. It’s been kind of rough and we never had any kind of sports over here,” said Brown.

Brown helped establish the youth baseball, basketball and football leagues. He also plans events at the park and fundraises so the teams can travel. He said its been an honor to help save some of the local kids from getting into trouble.

“It’s been a long road. But I’ve seen some kids come through here and be able to go college, or the next level, and that makes me so proud.”

This past January, Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Twice a month, he drives to Atlanta for treatment. Despite his life changing, he continues to help the children who take advantage of Wiggins Park. He said the kids are what keep him going.

“It’s a struggle for me. But I also know it’s a struggle for these kids out here. I just wanna come out here and be a difference in their life and just keep them motivated and have something for them to do.”

Vernon hopes in the future to see renovations and updates to the park. If you are interested in getting in contact with Vernon, you can reach him at 205-527-5589 or at vjbrown798@gmail.com.

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