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Breast Cancer Awareness on Display Sunday in Denver(including pink football)


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By Zach Eisendrath


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The NFL logo and the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon will go hand in hand this October.

In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the league has launched a month-long initiative called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," to encourage annual mammograms for women over 40.

Holding a long-standing commitment to breast cancer awareness in the Denver community, the Broncos plan to be an active participant in the league-wide campaign.

To publicize the local movement and raise money for the national cause, the organization -- in conjunction with their local partner, Komen Denver for the Cure -- has an array of activities scheduled for before and during Sunday's Week 4 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

The day's activities start bright and early on Sunday morning at the Pepsi Center with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. At 7 a.m., 11 Broncos Cheerleaders -- Brianne Bateman, Tara Battiato, Romi Bean, Allyson Daniels, Erica Golding, Kimberly Hidalgo, Kaoruko Horiike, Jessica Magee, Sara Oliver, Christina Puglisi and Valerie Scott -- will lead a team of local celebrities in the Co-Ed 5K Run. At 8 a.m., Denver Broncos staff members will participate in the 5K Co-Ed Walk. The early morning festivities will conclude with a 9 a.m. Family One-Mile Fun Walk.

Each event costs 35 dollars for adults and 25 dollars for children under 12 and senior citizens over the age of 65. If you are interested in participating in any of the three events, click here to start or join a team.

Broncos cheerleading intern Kim Braun has worked diligently over the past two months to bring a strong Broncos presence to the event and an awareness to Denver residents of the startling statistics concerning breast cancer. She is looking forward to the event and how much money can be raised for the cause at hand.

"It will be a pretty eventful morning," Braun said. "I'm excited to see the final results. There should be a lot of energy out there because this is a great cause."

The Race for the Cure is just one element of the team's full-fledged breast cancer awareness movement on Sunday.

Upon arriving at INVESCO Field, or while watching the game on national TV, fans will quickly recognize the Broncos' efforts in promoting the breast cancer initiative -- from start to finish.

The most visible elements will be in terms of artwork. A large pink bow will appear on the east side of the stadium and a pink ribbon will be stenciled onto the field of play.

From the onset of the game, the initiative will clearly be recognizable. A pink coin will be used for the coin toss and a pink ball will be used for the opening kickoff. The goal posts will sport a different look, as the padding will be pink and Thunder, the team's mascot, will also roam the field with pink accessories.

Players and coaches will have an opportunity to partake in the movement, too.

Various players will be sporting pink wristbands and a few are expected to take to the field donning pink cleats. They will also have the option to wear pink gloves and sideline caps throughout the game. Coaches and team officials will sport breast cancer pins.

Game-worn pink merchandise and the other pink game day accessories will be autographed post-game and auctioned off at NFL Auctions, with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society and Broncos charities.

The most inspiring aspect of the day will take place at halftime, when the team hosts 100 breast cancer survivors on the field. Survivors will be profiled throughout the game and there will be service announcements from players saluting the survivors for winning the battle against breast cancer.

But the real celebration will take place at the half.

Six survivors -- Becky Shepherd, Sue Campbell, Charity Ohlrogge, Sharon Magness Blake and Broncos employees Sheila Thomas and Patti Barban -- will have their stories highlighted by Thundervision. Thomas, who has been cancer free for seven years, is in her 17th year as the Broncos Director of Human Resources and Barban, who has lived cancer free for five years, has worked in the Broncos' ticket office for 15 years.

All of the survivors will then commemorate their fight against the disease by releasing 5,000 balloons into the air.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Broncos have always taken pride in raising breast cancer awareness within the community. But with the NFL making the cause a focal point this month, Vice President of Community Development Cindy Kellogg and the rest of the Broncos organization are excited to have more resources to work with this year.

"It really strengthens our impact to the cause." Kellogg said. "It gives us more ammunition. They really give us a lot more options, a lot more access for the cause at hand, which is great because October is a potent month for breast cancer awareness."

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The Miaim Dolphins will be doing similar things this weekend when they play buffalo.

Players will wear pink cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps, helmet decals, captains' patches or towels during the game. Coaches and sideline personnel will wear pink caps and pink ribbon pins, and there will be pink goal post padding in the end zone. In addition, K-balls will have pink ribbon decals and a special pink coin will be used for the coin toss.

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Until EA tries to sell it to you as an add-on in the Madden10 game for $6.99.

This wouldn't be such a bad idea if the proceeds went to Breast Cancer Awareness, but Xbox Live doesn't work this way, you gotta pay for Microsoft Points, and use those points to spend. It could work on Playstation Network, though.

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I wish sports leagues would stop wasting money on pink equipment for players and just donate that extra money. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I've always felt that things of this nature (VT caps, American themed caps after 9/11, ect) are at the least extremely empty tributes and at worst are even borderline exploitive.

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I wish sports leagues would stop wasting money on pink equipment for players and just donate that extra money. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I've always felt that things of this nature (VT caps, American themed caps after 9/11, ect) are at the least extremely empty tributes and at worst are even borderline exploitive.

I'm torn on this one.

Spreading awareness for a cause is always important, but I do agree that some tributes can go over the top. That being said, it is important to note that much of that pink equipment that you are referring to is not "wasted". In most cases they are autographed by the player that wears that piece of equipment and auctioned off for money for the charity being promoted. So in the end the money isn't really "wasted". But I do agree with you in the sense that many of these tributes are too over contrived and forced for my liking.

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If ALL profits from the special events merchandise went to charities supporting that cause, then I would be for it, but until that time, I find them to be exploitative. The fact of the matter is that none of us need to be made aware of the fact that breast cancer is a major killer. None of us really need to be reminded of the significance of July 4th or September 11th.

That said, if the event is important to you, I think the merchandise does give you a nice link to your feelings. No one who sees me in it might realize, but my Yankees 2001 World Series hat makes me feel a special connection to where I was on September 11th and the way that the City rallied together. If owning a pink hat does the same for you, great - for me, I would rather just donate the money directly to a charity.


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