Marx quickly ascended the ladder at the daily publication, turning his internship into a job as a general assignment reporter. By 1986 the 23-year-old fledgling journalist had won acclaim as the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
Just three years later an unexpected darkness pervaded Marx’s seemingly cloudless journey. His best friend and only sibling Wendy was in a coma, sick with hepatitis B. The virus had destroyed her liver, and the 22-year-old needed a transplant to survive.
"During that time period I came to realize the lack of meaning or importance in so much of the work that I was doing," said Marx. "I came to realize that sharing a personal story about Wendy and about organ donation and transplantation was really one of the most important things I could ever do with my life."
Wendy received a life-saving liver transplant and spent the next 14 years working to increase public awareness of the need for organ donors. With the help of Olympic champion Carl Lewis, she and Marx created the Wendy Marx Foundation for Organ Donor Awareness. She died in 2003 at 36 years old.
Profoundly impacted by his sister’s struggle for life, the award-winning journalist found new direction.
"Wendy was my turning point. No question about it,” said Marx. ”[She] was a woman of remarkable passion and purpose, and that’s exactly the way I attempt to live my life.”
Marx parlayed his early success into freelance writing and then transitioned into writing books and public speaking.
When Wendy’s illness struck in 1989, Marx was in the middle of co-writing his first book with Lewis titled "Inside Track" and subsequently published in 1990. This began Marx’s trend of using sports as a platform to reach other people.
“I'm a strong believer that the single greatest transformation possible to a human being is to take something negative that happens to you and to turn it into something positive,” said Marx.
Combining sports and storytelling as a public platform, Marx connects with people about real life issues.
"I see sports as the most powerful platform in America today,” said Marx. “I think that has a lot to do with why I end up choosing a lot of the sports related stories that I do."
Marx wrote and published a second book with Lewis in 1996 titled "One More Victory." In 2000 he published a third book, "It Gets Dark Sometimes," about Wendy. His two most recent books, "Season of Life" and "The Long Snapper," published in 2003 and 2009 respectively, are both New York Times bestsellers.
Marx has been involved in public speaking for close to 20 years and accepts around 30 to 40 invitations each year. Zachary is next on his agenda.
Legendz Sports Academy will host its annual leadership night Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at Fellowship Church, 1555 Mt. Pleasant Road. Marx will be presenting “This thing we call success” based on his book "Season of Life." The public is invited to attend.
Legendz is a non-profit organization directed by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Todd Hernandez. The group offers team sports and individual camps for things like fitness, speed, strength and conditioning to children ages 6 – 15.
"Basically we're trying to teach life lessons through athletics," said Hernandez. "['Season of Life'] is about a man who kind of does the same thing. It's about having an objective bigger than oneself [and the idea that] success is not always measured in terms of wins and loses."
Dress for the event is business casual. A non-perishable food item is required for admission and will be donated to the Zachary Food Pantry.