FOXBORO -- Dont'a Hightower doesn't love the spotlight. He's taken a pass on Super Bowl parades and White House visits. He's not a big pitch man or someone who will wait at his locker to see waves of reporters headed for him with microphones at the ready.
But on Tuesday night Hightower made an exception when he hosted women whose lives have been impacted by diabetes at Showcase Cinema de Lux Patriot Place for a VIP screening of the movie Wonder Woman, which hits theaters on June 2.
Hightower's mom, L'Tanya, was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago and she has encouraged her son, the Patriots linebacker, to help raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. He hosts an annual fundraiser to support the American Diabetes Association and has represented the ADA on Capitol Hill.
"My mom was definitely a big pillar, and [marketing director] Julia [Lauria] and a lot of people at SportsTrust have definitely pushed me in the right direction to step outside my comfort zone," Hightower said. "I'm not a big media public person, so I don't get to necessarily put my character and my personality out there, but I definitely don't mind, especially with a cause as good as this, to get out there and use my platform to try to promote awareness."
L'Tanya couldn't make the event -- she had some gardening back at home to attend to, Hightower said with a smile -- but he'll be back in Tennessee later this offseason to spend some time with her before the start of training camp.
"I go back home and see my mom each and every week, my mom and my sister," Hightower said. "I try to spend as much time with family and close friends that I don't get to see throughout the season that can't come up here. Any time I'm back home, I don't do too much. I'm not a big out there person. So I'm usually at home with my family and friends."
Hightower was part of a group of Patriots who were not on the field for last week's optional OTA practice that was open to the media, but he said that he's looking forward to getting back on the field eventually.
"When the time comes, yeah," he said, "but I'm enjoying my offseason while I can."