On Sunday, Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins hosted their annual Breast Cancer Awareness game at FedExField against the Chicago Bears.
The Redskins were one of the last teams in the National Football League to host a home game in the month of October, but were the first to bring awareness to the cause back in 1999.
Tanya Snyder, wife of owner Daniel M. Snyder, used Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October of 1999 to oscillate knowledge to the Redskins fan base in hopes that it would spread across the league.
Now, 15 years later, the NFL is a leader in bringing awareness to a cancer that affects one on every eight women. In 2013, awareness is as prominent as ever.
Throughout the month, Redskins players are wearing pink colored accessories to include gloves, cleats, compression sleeves and decals.
The focus goes well beyond the gridiron, though.
Mrs. Snyder, a breast cancer survivor herself, made a concerted effort to use the attention the NFL receives to help both those who are battling breast cancer and alert others to get checked on a regular basis.
“In 1999 Dan Snyder bought the Washington Redskins [and that] was the beginning,” Mrs. Snyder said. “We became involved with the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority. The Northern Chapter came and made a proposal to hand out pink ribbons, hence THINK-PINK! began within the league.”
On Sunday, members of local ZTA chapters and CareFirst passed out over 51,000 pamphlets with THINK-PINK ribbons and breast health tips such as scheduling mammograms.
In 1999, the Redskins passed out 8,000 ribbons. On Sunday, they passed out their 5 millionth in front of a sellout crowd that wore the ribbons proudly over their Redskins gear.
“You take it one ribbon at a time, one ribbon at a time, one game at a time year after year and we’ve gotten there,” Mrs. Snyder said.
Before the game started on a sunny afternoon in Landover, Mrs. Snyder was joined by her husband, Dan Snyder; Sherry Tilley, Vice President of Philanthropy for the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, and ZTA members in passing out ribbons to fans both entering the stadium and already inside watching warmups.
Standing out amongst the burgundy and gold scattered throughout, Tilley pointed to the amount of pink as symbolic of the growing support.
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