The day after 13,000 New Orleanians participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure at City Park, the New Orleans Saints recognized the organization in its charity spotlight as the team faced the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 27.
Saints Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc was at the Race for a Cure event, serving as the starter for each of the races. She was joined by staff members from Saints and Pelicans and Saints players/coaches wives & family members and mascots Gumbo and Sir Saint.
“To have Rita at the race every year is wonderful and having her kick off our event is just amazing,” said Executive Director of Susan G. Komen New Orleans Lisa W. Plunkett. “People see her and they see the Saints’ involvement. Our supporters recognize her and they know that we are partners with the Saints and that’s worth more than anything that could be said. It’s helped Susan G. Komen extend its reach to create breast cancer awareness.”
Founded in 1982 in honor of her sister, Susan G. Komen has been committed to funding research and raising awareness for breast cancer amongst all ages. Their goal is to continue to increase the number of breast cancer survivors. Currently, there are about three million survivors which makes breast cancer survivors the largest in the United States.
“The Saints are a fabulous community partner for Susan G. Komen. The awareness it builds – the Saints having the Susan G. Komen logo on the tickets – is amazing. I can’t tell you the number of calls we get at the office with people saying, “Hey, you’re on my ticket!” said Martin. “Rita and the entire Saints organization have been wonderful partners to us. They’re so giving and generous. It’s just been wonderful working with them.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This month it is noticeable that pink has taken center stage with the NFL teams and games. For example, they players wear pink towels and pink gloves and have pink ribbon insignias throughout the field.
At the end of September, LeBlanc and
“It’s a fundraising event for Komen and breast cancer awareness,” said LeBlanc. “The Saints and the Pelicans are overjoyed to be participating in all Komen events.”
“My mom was personally touched by the disease, and cancer in general is just a terrible disease. Hopefully we can find a cure for it one day,” Morstead said. “I am so proud to be a part of the Komen team.”
Martin has witnessed the effect of the NFL and Saints’ support for breast cancer locally, as the level of engagement and support has increased each year.
“When the Saints had their first pink game, I can’t tell you how many calls we received from people saying that their little league team or their peewee teams or high schools calling to wear pink during October for their games. I think the first year, I ordered 1,000 pink shoe laces and wrist bands. Now we’ve got the sweatbands for heads and their wrists,” she said. “The awareness generated from the NFL and Saints’ support for Susan G. Komen has given us the opportunity to say to the young and older kids – ‘Why are we wearing pink?’ Well, it’s for awareness and it gives them the chance to understand why we wear pink – it’s not because pink looks pretty – it’s to bring awareness to breast cancer.”