Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers forward and star of the reality television show “Khloe & Lamar,” will serve as national spokesperson for this year’s Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), which takes place in September.

Life insurance has played an important role in Odom’s life. Raised in Queens, N.Y., by his single mother, Odom went to Catholic school because of concerns about the public schools in his neighborhood. When he was 12, Odom’s mother died of colon cancer. Because she had life insurance, Odom was able to continue attending Catholic school. Odom’s grandma cared for him through high school, and because the life insurance death benefit had left them financially stable, Odom was able to attend college after graduation.

“I’m sure my mom didn’t think she would die at age 35, but that didn’t stop her from doing the responsible thing and buying life insurance,” Odom says. “Her wise decision gave me the foundation to move on in my life and played a big role in making me the person I am today. When I began my pro career, one of the first things I did was buy life insurance to make sure that my loved ones would always be taken care of. I’m proud to be working with the LIFE Foundation to share my story and to hopefully get more Americans to do the kind of smart planning that my mom did.”

Odom’s life insurance story will be broadcast nationally in TV and radio public service announcements starting in August and will be available on the LIFE Foundation’s Web site all through September at www.lifehappens.org.

The nonprofit LIFE Foundation coordinates LIAM each year. The industry-wide campaign is meant to raise awareness about the importance of life insurance protection; it’s estimated that 30% of U.S. households have no life insurance.