Every year in October, NFL team members outfit themselves in a variety of pink-colored paraphernalia to signify the League's support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Coaches, players and even referees take to the field wearing pink cleats, gloves, chin straps and other uniform accessories as part of the league's "A Crucial Catch" campaign, in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
In addition to participating in this partnership, the New Orleans Saints have taken their efforts one step further by partnering with Susan G. Komen.
Since 1982, Susan G. Komen has been working toward one goal - increasing the number of breast cancer survivors.
Named for the late sister of founder Nancy Goodman Brinker, Susan G. Komen promotes breast cancer awareness and funds research across the nation through a massive array of community events, fundraisers and corporate sponsorships.
Susan G. Komen has become synonymous with one powerful symbol, which adorns car bumpers, decorates personal spaces and clings to the shirts of supporters everywhere. The symbol, a pink ribbon, is effectively the face of breast cancer awareness, and is a design element found in the logos of the NFL Player's Association, the NFL "A Crucial Catch" campaign and the League as a whole during the month of October.
According to Susan G. Komen's website, ww5.komen.org, there will have been an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer in U.S. women in 2014. The site also mentions that the rate for breast cancer cases in the U.S. has remained stable since 2004.
In addition to statistics about breast cancer trends over time, the Susan G. Komen website also includes a variety of resources for women and men seeking information or assistance in their personal experiences with the disease. There are sections devoted to promoting awareness of risk factors, screening and detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Susan G. Komen New Orleans Board of Directors President Henry Kothmann expressed his gratitude for the partnership the Saints have had with his organization in an interview before the Saints game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 5th.
"It takes us to another level. We are so appreciative of the Saints and all they do for us. It gives us the ability to get our message out. It's a very important message," Kothmann said. "The whole thing here is, if we save one life by making everyone aware, doing what we do, it's well worth it."
In addition to their long-standing partnership with Susan G. Komen, the New Orleans Saints have a direct connection to breast cancer through their punter, Thomas Morstead, whose mother survived a breast cancer diagnosis.
"Awareness is so important because early detection is a key contributor to the rise in survival rates," Morestead said.
On October 25th, Susan G. Komen will host its annual Race for the Cure at City Park in downtown New Orleans. The events and festivities will begin at 7 a.m. with the actual 5k race/walk beginning at 9:30 a.m.
There will be awards, t-shirts and an expo area available to all registered racers.