The National Football League and NFL Players Association will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their third-annual national breast cancer screening-reminder and fundraising campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram.
The Saints will participate in the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Saints Owner/Executive Vice-President Rita Benson LeBlanc will participate in the race and serve as honorary chair. At their breast cancer awareness game in the nationally-televised contest against the Colts on Sunday, Oct. 23, partner Ochsner Health System will recognize breast cancer survivors during a presentation as part of their Ochsner Heroes program. They also will provide pink spirit swirlers for each fan entering the Superdome. The Saints will partner with ZTA to distribute information cards and pins at the game.
Beginning on October 2 and continuing throughout the month, NFL breast cancer awareness games will feature:
*Game balls with pink ribbon decals used for every down
*Pink equipment for players including: cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps, helmet decals, captains' patches, chin straps, shoe laces, skull caps, sideline towels, eye shield decals and quarterback towels
*Pink coins used for the coin toss
*Pink sideline caps for coaches and sideline personnel and pink ribbon pins for coaches and team executives
*Pink caps, wristbands, whistles and pins for game officials
*On-field pink ribbon stencils and A Crucial Catch wall banners
*Pink goal post padding in end zones
*Breast cancer awareness track jackets for cheerleaders
Game-worn pink merchandise and footballs will be autographed post-game and auctioned at NFL Auction (www.nfl.com/auction). All NFL Auction proceeds during the month of October will benefit the American Cancer Society and team charities. Last year, the NFL and its players donated more than $1 million to the American Cancer Society (ACS) as a result of the 2010 A Crucial Catch campaign, with the majority of the donation coming from the sale of pink NFL Auction items. Special pink merchandise will be available at www.NFLShop.com, in stadium retail stores, at Dick's, Hatworld and Lids, with a portion of proceeds going to breast cancer charities.
As national spokespeople for A Crucial Catch, Cardinals wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD, TANYA SNYDER, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, SUSIE SPANOS, wife of Chargers president Dean Spanos, are working on a cause that hits close to home. Fitzgerald lost his mother to the disease, and many of his charitable efforts now focus on breast cancer awareness. Both Snyder and Spanos battled breast cancer and now advocate in support of research and fundraising.
From cleats to gloves, towels to caps, NFL partners including adidas, Gatorade, Longaberger, Nike, Pro Specialties Group, Reebok, Riddell, Under Armour and Wilson are creating pink merchandise for Breast Cancer Awareness games. Many other partners and licensees including Barclays, EA Sports, Panini and Topps will support A Crucial Catch through various products and promotions.
Additionally, The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) has teamed with the NFL and the women of the Hasselbeck family to educate women about the value of early detection, including monthly self-exams and annual mammograms for ages 40 , through A Crucial Catch and P&G's "Do Something Beautiful" campaign. And PepsiCo is working with the NFL and Kroger grocery stores on special products to be sold in-stores throughout October, featuring the photos of Kroger employees who are breast cancer survivors alongside ELI MANNING and MARK SANCHEZ.
During the primetime match-up on October 2 between the Ravens and the Jets (8:30PM, NBC), the City of Baltimore will 'paint the town pink,' as City Hall and other prominent areas will be lit pink. Country music superstar MARTINA MCBRIDE will sing the National Anthem before the game, flanked by 50 breast cancer survivors. Martina's new album, ELEVEN, will be released October 11 on Republic Nashville, and her current single off the album is titled, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," a heartfelt anthem for breast cancer survivors and their supporters.
In addition, the Buffalo Bills and the Niagara Falls Illumination Board are working together to light the Falls pink in honor of the Billieve Breast Cancer Awareness program. The falls will be illuminated pink on Friday, October 7. The lighting will take place with Bills players on-hand. The Peace Bridge that connects Niagara Falls Ontario and Buffalo also will be lit pink.
The NFL and ACS have extended A Crucial Catch to the youth and high school level again this year. With help from USA Football, ANDY REID, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, sent a note to every youth and high school football coach across the country offering suggestions and ideas for how schools and teams can "go pink" along with the NFL and ACS to show support for the cause. Coach Reid's late mother, Elizabeth, was a radiologist who treated many breast cancer patients, and his mother-in-law, Virginia Garrett, passed away from breast cancer.
Fans can visit www.NFL.com/pink to learn more about the campaign, the youth and high school football initiative, as well as important breast cancer detection information, prevention tips and how to participate in their local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
NFL Players will be raising money for breast cancer awareness with collective and individual efforts across the country. Through One Team for the Cure and their own foundations, players will host a variety of events and fundraisers in their team cities and home communities.
Many teams will extend the national platform with local efforts, including the distribution of 750,000 pink ribbons and education cards facilitated by volunteers from Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority chapters. Teams will designate home games in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and plan special in-stadium or pregame events with local organizations.