The Redskins Charitable Foundation kicked off their 10th annual All-Star Survivors Celebration for some of the bravest women battling and beating cancer in Washington.*
For the past decade, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the American Cancer Society have hosted the All-Star Survivors Celebration, honoring women in the Washington, D.C., area who either beat or are battling breast cancer.
The tradition continued Monday, with Tanya Snyder, wife of the Redskins owner Dan Snyder, and eight Redskins players including defensive lineman Brandon Banks, running back Mack Brown, defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis, defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II, running back Samaje Perine, guard Brandon Scherff, long snapper Nick Sundberg and punter Tress Way who welcomed the 30 all-stars to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
Mrs. Snyder kicked off the event with words of encouragement for the breast cancer survivors and their loved ones.
"This story has grown and grown and grown, making one ribbon at a time to making millions of ribbons," she said. "Today is about having fun, it's about enjoying all the opportunities with the partners that are here that care about you women that are in a battle."
From there, the women enjoyed a day full of pampering, with activities ranging from picking out custom jewelry by Kendra Scott to trying on jeans from the Gap, Inc. Brianna Way, wife of Tress Way, said it was inspiring to see all the brave women taking a day to enjoy themselves.
"I think that it's awesome that we get to support all these women and encourage early detection and just do little things like this to know that they have our support," Way said. "They get to feel and look beautiful and just have fun."
Way spent his time checking out the head scarves and wigs. After seeing his wife receive a heart shape colored into her hair, he decided to sport the look as well, claiming he would swear off showering to keep the color in as long as possible.
Local women currently battling breast cancer were treated to an afternoon of pampering as they took part in makeup consultations, wig fittings, jeans fittings, massages and tours of Redskins Park on Monday, October 16, 2017.
Way also took a turn at the makeup table, along with Mack Brown. Brown came away with bright pink lipstick, while Way went with the smoky-eyed look.
Many of the women said the tours of the locker room, led by the players, were their favorite parts of the day. As Redskins fans, they said it was incredible to see behind the scenes of the team they cheer on every Sunday.
"To see them inside of our locker room, they're just so enamored by it and I think that's really cool," Way said. "As long as we can do that and just show them a good time today, I think that's a cool escape to have some fun."
Barbara Vivian, one of the survivors invited to the event, reflected on how breast cancer has affected her family. A year after her daughter had been diagnosed, Vivian herself found out she had a particularly aggressive form of cancer called triple negative. At Sunday's game, Vivian was selected as an honorary captain to walk out with the team captains and Mrs. Snyder for the coin toss, and said that was an experience she will always remember.
"It's just brilliant. It's quite an honor as well to be chosen," Vivian said. "It was amazing, and it's amazing today, and we're all so grateful for the Redskins organization for what they're doing for us."
Michele Late, who is still in the midst of her fight with the disease, said the battle never really ends. Late received radiation treatment the morning of the celebration and said going to events like these makes her struggle just a little bit easier.
"It felt so supportive," she said. "This kind of event, too, it's just really nice. You feel valued, and that's important."
Chris Cooley, the former Redskins tight end who helped to kick start the event ten years ago, closed out the day with a passionate speech about his own mother's battle against breast cancer.
"I want you to be able to fight it with all of your heart and I wanted her to be able to fight it with all of her heart," Cooley said. "Seeing yourself that way has to be tough, it had to be tough for my mother. But man, she taught me so much, about who she is, about my own toughness. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for fighting. I know it's hard. Don't quit. You guys are really role models for the way you battle. Your husbands, your sons, your daughters, everyone looks up to you and I know that they're so proud of you for everything that you've done for them and that you're doing right now for yourself. It's really an honor to be here, so thank you."