New England Patriots: Champions of Cancer Awareness

New England Patriots: Champions of Cancer Awareness

Katie Sawyer, Writer

The New England Patriots, six-time Superbowl Champions aren’t just focused on winning, they are also focused on helping people in their community. 

The New England Patriots participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by holding a Day of Pampering for Breast Cancer survivors and by designating a regular season game for the Crucial Catch. 

Patriots Day of Pampering:

For more than thirty years, October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign that increases awareness of the disease. It involves many organizations to expand on the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness, education and research.

On Thursday October 3, 2019  the fourth annual Day of Pampering was held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Fifteen Breast Cancer survivors were chosen to attend. Five women were selected from Mass General Hospital, five from Dana Farber, four from Codman’s Women’s Health Center, and one is usually a Foxborough resident. 

The women are picked up from their houses by a car service and brought to the stadium. The morning starts with an introduction by the Patriots Hall of Famer and Pro-Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. It is followed by a light yoga class, a morning chair massage, manicures, and a nutrition consultation from the Livestrong Program from the Hockomock YMCA. In the afternoon they enjoy a special luncheon where Robert Kraft stops by to welcome them. He surprised the survivors with tickets to the Crucial Catch Game. Then they went to the Muse Paintbar and enjoyed painting.They ended their eventful day at the stadium, where Julian Edelman, Devin and Jason McCourty, Matthew Slater, and many of the offensive linemen greeted them on the field.

There is a true reason for this event. It is a once and a lifetime opportunity for everyone who attends.

Julie Redwine, Community Relations Supervisor and Alumni Coordinator for the New England Patriots said: “The purpose of the day of pampering is to provide the women a day to forget what they are going through. Everyone going through cancer treatment deserves a day to forget about their challenges.”

Many survivors use this day to forget about their past challenges and to live in the moment. They cherish this day for the rest of their lives. Julie Redwine, a huge part of this event, has received thank you notes from participants about how much the event meant to them, but also from caretakers and family members after they have passed away to let her know what the day meant to them.

Crucial Catch Game:

Since 2009 the National Football League has partnered with the National Cancer Society in hopes of saving people’s lives. With education and fundraising, Crucial Catch focuses on helping more people catch cancer early, when it may be easier to treat.

Each NFL team chooses a home game in October as their Crucial Catch game to showcase their appreciation to cancer patients. The New England Patriots played a game on Thursday October 10, 2019 dedicated to cancer survivors and patients. 

Over four-hundred survivors and their caregivers walked out on the field to create a formation that changes every year. It allows the fans in the stadium to see and recognize those on the field and what they are going through. 

This game is not only emotional for those who participate, but also for the staff and fans. For some participants, it’s the first time where they feel part of a group who has experienced something they have also experienced. 

Kim Sebastiao, Breast Cancer Survivor and attendee of the 2016 Crucial Catch Game stated: “There were people in all stages of their journey there—people in treatment who were obviously fatigued from the day, people like me who were just wrapping their minds around being a survivor, and people years out of treatment just so grateful to be alive and there to experience this event.”

The Crucial Catch Game is an excellent way for survivors and patients to recognize that they aren’t going through cancer by themselves. Many different types of cancers are represented at the game every year and chosen to attend.

Sebastiao said: “I didn’t really feel worthy. Despite having a Mastectomy and going through twenty-eight days of Radiation, I felt like I had it so much easier than other cancer survivors and that someone else deserved to go in my place.” 

The Patriots Foundation plays a huge part in planning these events, along with many other events. To learn more about what they do click here.