Throughout October, the NFL will take part in National Breast Cancer Awareness month, with the league's Crucial Catch campaign aimed at encouraging women over forty to get regular mammograms. In addition, the league will allow players to wear pink shoes, wristbands, gloves, sideline hats, towels, captain patches, and helmet decals, in order to raise awareness.
Many of the game-used items will then be auctioned off in order to raise money for research; the NFL Referees' Association will donate $24,000 to the charity.
As is the case with several players around the league, the theme of the month strikes a personal cord with Cowboys' linebacker Bradie James. James, whose charity, Foundation56, is geared towards breast cancer awareness, lost his mother Etta to the disease as a student at LSU in 2002.
"As far as other guys in the league, I don't know what they're doing, but in my instance it's different because I definitely have a passion," James said on Wednesday. "My mom lost her battle with breast cancer, so it's good that we can do some things, I'm happy that the league is picking up on, it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We're just going to go out and honor all the survivors, all the people that have lost their battle, and just promote awareness."
Through his foundation, James will sponsor free mammograms for 35 women on Oct. 13; on Oct. 17, he will be an honorary co-chair, along with former first lady Laura Bush, at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, in Dallas. And on Oct. 25, James and the Cowboys will take on the Falcons at Cowboys Stadium for the team's breast cancer awareness game.
Like James, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald lost his mother to breast cancer while in college. Fitzgerald now serves as a national spokesman for Crucial Catch, and, also like James, a tireless advocate of awareness and prevention.
“The Crucial Catch initiative reminds us all how important it is to take care of the women in our lives,” said Fitzgerald, recently. “I hope to keep my mother’s legacy alive by taking part in this campaign.”