Dallas Cowboy linebacker Bradie James talked about losing his mother to breast cancer when he was a sophomore at LSU and started Foundation56 in her memory. And while Sandra Hill, the mother of Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, thankfully celebrates her survivorship, three of his aunts unfortunately succumbed to the disease.
And as the story goes, it was the driving force behind Williams’ persistence and more stories, including the diagnoses to convince the NFL to take action and show support to help spread the word.
So for a second season the National Football League will splurge splashes of pink for the entire month of October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Using the NFL platform, the league has teamed with the American Cancer Society in the ‘Crucial Catch’ campaign, which will highlight a series of events to help promote preventive measures to reduce the risks associated with breast cancer.
According to research facts found on the NFL and Susan G. Komen websites, about 2.5 million women live to tell about how they survived breast cancer. About 207,090 and 1,970 new cases of breast cancer will occur among women and men, respectively, in the United States during 2010. Every 69 seconds, someone will die from the disease. Unfortunately, breast cancer has become more common than a cold so something’s got to be done.
That’s why the NFL, its association, teams, players, coaches and officials are involved in mirroring the idea of tying a ribbon around the finger to remind us to be proactive with our health and get mammograms. All 32 teams will have a pink ribbon on the back of their helmets. Players and coaches are sporting pink game apparel (hats, towels, cleats, gloves). The beloved whistle-blowers will flip pink coins during pre-game. And, game balls will have pink ribbons on them.
This is not to distract the die-hard fans from the game itself or make way for players to shamelessly promote fashion statements. The mere point is to raise awareness, and money, as pink apparel will be auctioned after games to any willing buyer to benefit the American Cancer Society and NFL team charities.
It’s a playbook designed by the offense (NFL, American Cancer Society and fans); a game winner that will save lives and stomp out the opponent (breast cancer) for good.
In celebration of my mother, a woman of grace and strength, who is almost a 2-year survivor, as well as millions of other breast cancer survivors who ‘Love the Game’.