Inspiring Sun Devils to share their stories at Alumni Association book event

Book cover for Unstoppable by Anthony Robles

Former ASU wrestling champion Anthony Robles and Marie Tillman, the widow of ASU and Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman, will headline the ASU Alumni Association’s “Life Stories of Courage” event, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 19, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix.

Robles, author of “Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated, How I Became a Champion,” and Tillman, author of “The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Life and Loss,” will share their stories of overcoming challenges and tragedies and triumphing in the face of adversity.

Robles, who was born with only one leg, began wrestling in eighth grade. After a slow start in the sport, he went on to excel in it in high school and college. During his final year of eligibility at ASU, he had an undefeated record of 36-0 and became the 2011 NCAA Division I Champion in his weight class. Unstoppable is not just a sports memoir or an inspirational tale of living with a disability; it is also the story of a man whose spirit and unyielding resolve is a reminder that everyone has the power to conquer adversity – in whatever form.

Marie Tillman, who married ASU football standout Pat Tillman in 2002, wrote “The Letter” to share the wisdom she has gained in her journey to remake her life after Pat's death. In it, she recalls meeting and falling in love with Pat when they were kids, his harrowing decision to join the Army after 9/11, and the devastating day when she learned he'd been killed. She also describes how she withdrew from the public spotlight to grieve, learning the value of solitude, self-awareness and integrity in the healing process.

Christine K. Wilkinson, president of the ASU Alumni Association, said she hoped “Life Stories of Courage” would inspire those attending the event to see setbacks in their lives as stepping stones to success.

“Both our guests have overcome great odds to fulfill their potential and help others do the same,” she said. “We hope that alumni and friends of ASU are touched by their stories and let them speak to the way in which they conduct their own lives.”

In addition to speaking during the luncheon part of the program, Robles and Tillman will autograph their respective books from 1 to 2 p.m. Tickets to the lunch start at $55. For more information on the “Life Stories of Courage” event, visit