While watching your favorite National Football League team play this past weekend you may have noticed the coaches, players, fans, cheerleaders and even referees accessorizing in an abundance of pink.
Since 1985, October has been recognized by the American Cancer Society (ACS) as well as other breast cancer charities, as the month of breast cancer awareness. In 2008 the NFL started the “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives” initiative with the ACS, to bring awareness and raise money against the disease.
The NFL also advocates for woman over 40 years old to get an annual mammogram, as early detection is critical in the fight against breast cancer.
According to the ACS, an estimated 289,870 women will be diagnosed with various forms of breast cancer this year as well as 2,190 new cases in men. Also, an estimated 39,920 men and women will die this year from breast cancer alone; however, there are about 2.6 million current survivors alive today.
To fight this battle together throughout the month of October all NFL games will sport a flush of pink apparel, accessories, game balls, goal-post padding and a large quantity of the well-recognized pink ribbons to raise awareness.
Following each game players and coaches will be autographing game-worn apparel that will be auctioned off on the NFL’s website; all proceeds are to be donated to the ACS and team charities. In addition teams and players will be holding special local events informing the public, while raising funds for their local charities.
To date the NFL has raised approximately $3 million for the ACS with the majority of the sales coming from the auctions. For the first time this year the Crucial Catch campaign will be donating money to the ACS’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment program, which provides screenings for woman that otherwise cannot afford it.
As fans, we can also show our support by going to large retail sports chains and purchasing custom pink apparel or by visiting the NFL’s website.
Football isn’t the only sport that has dedicated time campaigning awareness against the disease. The Major League Baseball Players association spreads awareness by wearing pink and using pink bats on Mother’s Day in May. This month NASCAR drivers and teams will support a variety of pink gear and pink color schemes for their vehicles. Also numerous women’s volleyball, soccer and early fall basketball programs throughout the nation campaign awareness throughout their respective seasons.
For many this hits close to home and is something although currently mysterious, something to persevere and overcome. Breast cancer and other forms of cancer have plagued humans for generations, but for the duration of this month awareness will be at a peak, as we take another step closer to finding a cure.