New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston invited a group of breast cancer survivors to join him for Sunday's Week 9 matchup with the Chicago Bears. The group watched the game and then made their way to the field afterwards for a meet-and-greet with the QB.
While most fans were wearing Black and Gold during the New Orleans Saints game against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 5, there was a group wearing a color to represent a different battle than the one happening on the football field, a battle with far bigger stakes. They were all wearing pink to symbolize their fight against breast cancer.
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston invited a group of 20 breast cancer survivors to watch the team take on the Bears in the Caesars Superdome and afterward he spent time with the group and spoke with them all on the field. The battle against breast cancer has a personal connection for the Saints quarterback.
"Two of my family members in particular, my aunt Lois back home in Birmingham, Alabama and my cousin Tanda up in Louisville, Kentucky, they are both survivors and have been battling breast cancer and they continue to defeat it," Winston said. "So, it just meant a lot to me and my family."
The group was all clad with pink shirts with Winston's number two emblazoned on the front and the slogan "Eating W's over breast cancer" on the back.
"I think that's just something that we did to lighten up the mood, because it is a very serious disease," Winston said. "We know that these women, they go through a lot. So, we just wanted to have something, a slogan that they can use to ensure that they are eating W's while they are defeating breast cancer."
The inspiration for Winston to do this came from his own family.
"The idea was presented to me by my aunt up in Kentucky to just show how resilient these women are, because the NFL does a great job identifying the variety of cancers, but we just wanted to highlight the magnificent and resilient women in our community," he said.
Winston said having the opportunity to do this meant a lot to him.
"Well, I think that's what this platform is for, being able to help those in need and to encourage others that are experiencing difficulties or tribulations," he said. "I'm so thankful that the Lord has provided me with an opportunity to be a voice and to be an encourager and to imitate Him by doing work in the community."
After the game ended, Winston spoke with all the women and learned about many of their journeys.
"I had a conversation with a young lady named Donna who actually had been battling cancer with another lady who's been in this building Mrs. Debbie (Gallagher) for (26 years) and they went on their journey together," he said. "So, to just be able to share something with someone who in a way is so close to the New Orleans Saints and Mrs. Debbie shot me a text and she just told me 'Thank you,' and I told her 'Thank you for being resilient.'"
Winston said he benefits personally by getting to be around the survivors, speaking and interacting with them.
"I think any time you get a chance to get around survivors and get around people who may be going through something challenging, any opportunity you get to encourage and inspire them, I think you kind of get that back," he said. "Like I'm inspired by being able to inspire some of these ladies."