During October, the National Football League (NFL) goes pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness for a disease that will impact 1 in 8 American women. The NFL has been involved for several years now. If you notice uniforms accented with pink, this is why!
The NFL and the American Cancer Society teamed up on a nationwide breast-cancer awareness campaign called “A Crucial Catch.” The campaign focuses on the importance of regular breast cancer screenings. Survival rates are significantly higher if cancer is detected early. Sadly, too many women ignore symptoms, either out of fear or because they cannot afford to care for themselves properly. The NFL is doing what it can to help change this!
Since 2009, the NFL has raised nearly $15 million for the American Cancer Society. The majority of these funds come from the sale of Breast Cancer Awareness pink merchandise. It is available at retail but also through the NFL Auction.
Beginning in the 2011 season, the money raised has supported the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program. This program promotes health equity and addresses cancer screening disparities through community cancer prevention and early detection programs that increase access to breast cancer screenings. The program officially launched in 2012 in 17 communities across the country, each within 100 miles of an NFL city. These communities had lower breast cancer screening rates and higher mortality rates in their areas. In 2016, communities near each of the 32 teams will receive CHANGE grant funding.
Every October, supporters of this cause wear pink to raise awareness and encourage donations. Throughout this month, NFL games will feature coaches, players and referees wearing pink apparel as well as on-field branding. Most of the apparel worn at games will be auctioned off at the NFL Auction. Football fields around the country will feature pink ribbon shield stencils on both 25-yard lines. There will also be special balls with pink ribbon logos.
On Tuesday, October 25, grant-funded community health system partners are teaming up with the American Cancer Society and the NFL for “A Crucial Catch Day.” This is their third nationwide breast cancer event. It will provide breast cancer education and free or low-cost screenings.
On October 9, the Dallas Cowboys hosted cancer survivors – affectionately called “Star Survivors” – at their new training facility. They also were recognized by the Susan G Komen Foundation during the pregame festivities. The Star Survivors held the American Flag during the national anthem. During the half time show, approximately 100 survivors participated forming a human awareness ribbon on the field during the performance. Afterwards, they were joined by the current Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and DCC Alumni for an on-field pink-ribbon ceremony. On October 15, the Cowboys family of employees, associates and fans will form Team Cowboys to run/walk at the Komen Dallas Race for the Cure.
Several Dallas Cowboys had amazing performances against Cincinnati Bengals while wearing pink cleats to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Elliott scored on a 60-yard touchdown run wearing a pair of pink Nikes. Wide receiver Cole Beasley also scored another touchdown in the first half of the game in pink. Filling for injured Tony Romo, Dak Prescott raised awareness in his pink Adidas.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also joined the cause on October 9. Perhaps no football player has been more affected as the Steeler’s DeAngelo Williams. He lost his four sisters and his mother to breast cancer. When the team hosted breast cancer survivors against the Jets, he did not miss the opportunity to give them heartfelt hugs and shared a special moment with the women. Williams recently joined the cause by having t-shirts made with the phrase “Pittsburgh is Stronger than Cancer.” The proceeds will go to his foundation that provides free mammograms to women in need of help. The NFL won’t allow Williams or any other player to wear pink all season long. That didn’t stop him, thought! The 33-year-old football player decided to dye some of his dreadlocks pink instead!
The Steelers participate in a variety of breast cancer awareness initiatives each year. They are involved in Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, player hospital visits and special pink-logoed merchandise sales.
As part of the Steelers’ breast cancer awareness activities, players who have a loved one affected by the disease serve as chefs at the “Cooking and Eating for a Healthy Life” class at Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC. In attendance are breast cancer survivors who enjoy the players’ efforts in the kitchen.
The NFL Player association, its clubs and players are committed to helping saving lives from breast cancer in underserved communities. If you’re interested in participating in A Crucial Catch Day, find out more on the official website!