LEX18 — Friends of the University of Kentucky football player Chris Oats have formed the 22 Oats Strong Foundation to serve and support single-parent families experiencing the strain of caring for impaired children, specifically stroke victims.
The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization was formed to build on the recent $166,192 fundraising effort by the Big Blue Nation that helped Oats’ family purchase a state-of-the-art van providing a great help for his mobility after suffering a stroke in 2020.
The idea to form the foundation came after more than 3,000 individual donors to the initial “#22OatsStrong” GoFundMe campaign raised more than the $150,000 goal to help pay for a mobility van and other medical expenses.
“Having seen first-hand the struggles and heartaches the Oats family has had to endure since Chris’ stroke in 2020, I knew I wanted to be a part of something that could help others so they wouldn’t have to go through the same thing,” Susan Lax, 22 Oats Strong Foundation President said. “This foundation is set up to do just that and we are excited to see what our future holds.
Funds donated to the 22 Oats Strong Foundation will help provide a path allowing families going through struggles to focus on spending quality time with their loved ones, by minimizing financial stress.
The foundation will also allow Oats’ amazing support system, led by his family: mother, Kem Gamble, and siblings Ke’airra and Kelain, to pay it forward to other families in similar situations who may not have the means necessary to help their loved ones.
Those seeking to support the 22 Oats Strong Foundation can donate online at 22OatsStrong.org or by mailing a check payable to "22 Oats Strong Foundation" to:
135 W Main St.
Lexington, KY 40507
On the memo line of the check, indicate that the donation is for "22 Oats Strong Foundation." Donations are tax-deductible.
Oats was just 20 years old when he suffered a stroke in May 2020. He is a linebacker at Kentucky, and was making a name for himself on and off the field. As a sophomore in 2019, Oats played in 12 games and had two starting assignments for the Wildcats. He ranked fifth on the team in tackles with 46, and he added 2.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup, and one forced fumble. He is majoring in community and leadership development, with plans to one day become a sports analyst.
Oats is now exhibiting his work ethic and determination in rehabilitation as he works to regain his strength and mobility. With support from many doctors, nurses, family, friends, teammates, and the Big Blue Nation, he is getting stronger every day.