A little more than a dozen years ago, Dari Nowkhah was busy covering big stories here in Green Country. Then from the News On 6 he went straight to ESPN.
Now, Dari, an Oklahoma grad, is the lead anchor on the SEC network.
"Not everybody knows this but my initial discussion was when the Longhorn Network started. I went to Stephanie Druley, who's starting the network, and said I'll go to Austin,” he explained. “And she said it's yours if you want it. Eventually, after a few conversations, she discovered that enough Texas fans knew where I went to college and they weren't going to have a Sooner at their network. But it worked out because the person who was in Charlotte at ESPNU was from Texas. He wanted to go there. I could slide down to Charlotte."
Since leaving Tulsa, Dari and his wife Jenn started a family, and they also lost a child.
Five years ago, Hayden Michael Nowkhah, waiting for a transplant, died from a virus that attacked his heart at just 39 days old.
They grieved the loss and then decided to do something.
And that's where Hayden's Hope comes in.
The Nowkhah's foundation helps families with children waiting for a life-saving transplant.
"Our fifth year comes in September,” said Dari. “We've raised close to $180,000. We've helped probably 25-30 families all across the country, including a couple here in Oklahoma. And it's been really cool because over the time that we've been doing it more and more people hear about it."
A spirit of giving is a family tradition. When Dari was in town earlier this summer, we met at the Red Cross blood bank.
He always stops by to donate, but his grandfather set the bar pretty high.
The official name there? The Darwin Eaton Blood Donor Center.
Dari's grandpa gave more than 42 gallons of blood during his lifetime. Just like Hayden, he passed away in 2011.
Now, Dari says he and Jenn don't sweat the little things and that they're better parents. Surviving together has made them a stronger couple.
And his career?
"I feel more secure in my job and life right now,” he stated. “I don't want to go anywhere else.”
To help, visit the following link: Hayden’s Hope.