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'Blind Side' family of Baltimore Ravens' Michael Oher to speak at benefit

TAMPA — She doesn't waste time wondering why her family was featured in an Oscar-winning movie. For Collins Tuohy, fame is lame. There's just too much in the world that needs to be done.

The 23-year-old sister of the Baltimore Ravens' Michael Oher, whose family was portrayed in The Blind Side, will be in Tampa this weekend with her mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Michael Oher, 23, was born into a Memphis family with 13 children. He never met his father and his mother was a cocaine addict. By the time he was a teen, Oher was homeless. The Tuohys welcomed him into their family and eventually adopted him.

On Saturday, Collins and Leigh Anne Tuohy will give their "Behind the Blind Side" talk for the Metropolitan Ministries' annual Bridge Builders Benefit. Proceeds from the program will help fund emergency shelter, education and employment programs for homeless families, teens and children.

Their message? "Get off your butt and do something," Collins Tuohy said.

Here are some other questions we asked her:

The movie was obviously a big hit. Do you ever stop and think about how all this happened?

If I woke up every day thinking about why Sandra Bullock played my mom, or why people in foreign countries somehow got my cell phone number after the movie about our family was released in 40 cities worldwide, that's wasted time and effort. There is a reason why God put us on this path. It's not about stopping to look around and say, "Why am I here now?" It's about saying, "What can I do here now?"

What is the message your family hopes to share here in Tampa?

The greater message of the movie is about giving, helping people and getting involved. We want to make sure someone in the audience, whether it's one person or 1,000 people, when they leave that they want to go out and help someone else. We speak about specific things and places they can go to help. I think that people that have a huge issue finding an outlet to help aren't looking very hard. It's so easy it will slap you in the face sometimes.

How do you suggest people become more active in their communities?

Any school always needs volunteers, and the same goes for any soup kitchen or any homeless shelter. Be consistent with what you help out with. If you want to help with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, then you need to meet with a child once a week until your child graduates from high school. If you want to devote time to a soup kitchen, be there an hour a day twice a week, every week. You can always give one hour of your day to someone else. What you can do to change someone's life, even if it's small, it's amazing what it does.

FAST FACTS

If you go

Metropolitan Ministries' annual Bridge Builders Benefit will feature "Behind the Blind Side," by Leigh Anne and Collins Tuohy at 8 p.m. Saturday. The talk takes place at the Carol Morsani Hall, David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost $35 and $50. For more information, go to www.behindtheblindside.com.

'Blind Side' family of Baltimore Ravens' Michael Oher to speak at benefit 05/05/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 12:33am]

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