By Kyra Hallett
For the entire month of October, the NFL takes part in breast cancer awareness month. The campaign is called, “A Crucial Catch.” The focus is on annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 years and older. Players, coaches and referees will be decked out in the color pink for the entire month. After they wear the game day apparel, it is auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program and the individual teams’ charities. Select teams are taking part in the CHANGE program, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not one.
This is the fourth year for the NFL’s breast cancer screening initiative and fundraising campaign, but this is the first year of the CHANGE program.
In Week Six versus the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host their campaign called, “Join the Fight.” At the game, a commemoration ceremony will take place where fans will share their inspirational stories of survival.
The Bucs will give one family an unforgettable day at Raymond James Stadium. The team will feature one fan’s story in the ceremony. The nominee will also be named honorary captain and join the Bucs on the field to take part in the opening coin toss. The fan will get to watch the game in style. The nominee and three of their guests will watch the game as a VIP in one of the Buccaneers’ luxury suites.
The fan will be chosen by a panel of leading oncologists and Tampa Bay Buccaneer representatives. Friends and family members were encouraged to submit stories of their loved ones who are currently battling or who have survived breast cancer. The group was looking for inspirational stories from people in the Tampa Bay area.
This is a close charity to one Buccaneer’s heart, linebacker Adam Hayward. His mother passed way from breast cancer.
Hayward and the team are also big supporters in pediatric cancer. In early September, the Bucs teamed up with the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and dedicated a wall on the practice field called “Wall of Hope.” The wall is 24 feet long and is a representative of a community effort to support research and find a cure in the fight of pediatric cancer.
At the wall’s ground breaking festivities, Bucs cheerleaders, Captain Fear, and dozens of families battling the disease were in attendance. Players the took part were, Hayward, long snapper Andrew Economos, quarterback Josh Freeman, safety Cody Grimm, running back Doug Martin and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
The children and players ran through a giant sign as a symbol for breaking through the barriers of the fight. The players also signed the wall to show their pledge and support in the fight for cancer.
The main focus of the effort, no matter what the cancer is, is to raise funds and awareness to “Join the Fight” against the deadly disease.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.