The Atlanta Falcons, in partnership with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Emory Healthcare, the official team health care provider of the Falcons, have launched a month-long initiative to promote early detection of cancer through the NFL's Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer initiative.
Matt Bosher, punter for the Atlanta Falcons, is the spokesperson for the program. Matt's mother is a breast cancer survivor, and he will create video and radio PSAs discussing his mother's experience and encouraging fans to get screened.
"We're absolutely thrilled to partner with the Falcons on this 'lives-saving' initiative," says Winship Executive Director Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD. "Implementing full scale cancer prevention and early cancer detection in Georgia will save thousands of lives every year in Georgia, and I want to personally thank the Falcons for their leadership in this."
The program runs throughout October, beginning with the launch of a Crucial Catch website at AtlantaFalcons.com/CrucialCatch. The website includes information on potential early warning signs of cancer, videos, stories, and links for fans to schedule screenings or make a donation to Winship's research program.
Donations can also be made in October at Atlanta Falcons Team Stores inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where fans can donate $1 or $5 at check-out to help fund cancer research at Winship, where physicians see more than 17,000 patients each year. Winship Cancer Institute is Georgia's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and serves as the coordinating center for cancer research, education and care throughout Emory University and Emory Healthcare.
The Falcons will host the team's annual Crucial Catch game in partnership with Winship on Oct. 20 at Mercedes-Benz stadium when they take on the Los Angeles Rams.
"Since 2012, the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have worked to raise awareness and fight cancer," says Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. "It was a natural fit to collaborate with our official health care partner to elevate and expand efforts throughout the month of October. It is critical to the health of all our communities to continue to support and amplify the efforts of those making a difference in fighting this disease."
Part of this year's Crucial Catch campaign includes a celebration of cancer survivors and the family and friends who have helped them along the way. During the Crucial Catch game, the Falcons will celebrate cancer survivors and show videos from Matt Bosher and a woman who battled cancer with the help of Winship.
The Atlanta Falcons and Emory Healthcare will make available "I CELEBRATE" signs at the game in which fans can write the name of a family member or friend who has been touched by cancer. Fans can pick up a sign at Winship's booth in the AMFAM Village outside the stadium or on the concourse once inside. Fans will be encouraged to hold up their signs during the on-field recognition.
In addition, fans visiting the booth in the AMFAM Village can receive an autograph from former Falcons tight end Reggie Kelly.
Also in October, the Falcons in partnership with Winship will host the annual High School Breast Cancer Awareness game on October 18 at Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Georgia, when they take on Southwest DeKalb High School. Players, cheerleaders, bands, and fans will be decked out in pink to cheer on their teams and raise awareness.