In her continued efforts for breast cancer awareness, Tanya Snyder, along with a few Redskins wives, helped promote early detection and education Tuesday in Washington, D.C. *
It's easy to see the pink apparel on Sundays. It colors NFL pins and ribbons, it pops out on team slogans and video boards. Players accent themselves with it on their armbands and cleats.
But what football fans don't get to see – the bigger impact from purchasing, wearing and promoting all that pink – is what happened Tuesday in North Washington, D.C.
That much was made clear by Erin Hoynes, Vice President of the South-Atlantic division of the American Cancer Society, who was happy to partner with the NFL and the Redskins to donate $50,000 in funding to Mary's Center, a federally qualified health center for the city's residents.
Splashed in more pink, Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, along with Jessica McCloughan, Romonda Jordan and Natasha Hatcher, visited the center and spoke to a small group of women to kick off "A Crucial Catch Day," a nationwide movement promoting the early detection and education of breast cancer.
In many ways, this was a familiar event for Snyder, a breast cancer survivor and spokesperson for the NFL's awareness movements. But the message extended on Tuesday, and the reason Snyder continues to push her involvement, was about spreading breast cancer education to women who haven't received the resources and information needed to combat the disease.
In other words, share what you learn with others in the community.
"This is wonderful to be in this area to get the proper information out and to be able to see a doctor today and have an opportunity to have some clarity," Snyder said. "It's been great being here."
Many of the women in the room listening to stories were Hispanic (translators helped repeat the message) and from economically burdened backgrounds – demographics that, according to Maria Gomez, the founder of Mary's Center, are in most need of this kind of education.
They often don't have health insurance, a fact that can often shorten their lives if women aren't able to check their family history or find an affordable care center.
"A lot of times, for people that come here from other countries, they have never had access to health care, so to them, this is all new," Gomez said. "It's important for us that we make sure that we educate them that this disease can be prevented."
After the brief presentation, Gomez guided a tour for Snyder and the rest of the Redskins group around the center, which provides full-time doctors, social services and education for 30,000 patients each year.
"The parents and the children are learning at the same time, and the idea is that we keep people healthy but we keep them supported in their neighborhoods and move them up the economic ladder through education," Gomes said. "That's what are philosophy is."
What might be most important is the communication that happens within the building. Doctors, dentists, therapists and childcare workers all act collectively in referring patients to the services Mary's Center provides. It's why the large donation, which the American Cancer Society hopes to continue funding for the next two years, impacts more than just one purpose.
To emphasize the point, women that visited Tuesday learned about accessing health insurance, the latest technology in breast cancer screenings and even recipes for antioxidant smoothies, which helped conclude the function on a tasty note.
"To be more informed, to be more a part of the community, you can learn something every day," Jordan said. "With the breast cancer component very close to my heart, with my mom being a survivor and second time fighter of cancer, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. I got more than I bargained for though, because I didn't know how awesome the center was, and how much more they did."