LANDOVER, Md., October 4, 2023 – Throughout the month of October, the Washington Commanders will host events dedicated to health equity and promoting early detection best practices as part of the NFL's Annual Crucial Catch initiative. To headline the month, the team will host its Crucial Catch-themed game under the primetime lights of Thursday Night Football on October 5 on Amazon Prime Video. Gameday elements and activations will highlight multiple cancer prevention efforts and pay tribute to cancer survivors and those currently undergoing treatment:
- The Washington Commanders Charitable Foundation (WCCF) will welcome 160 AllStar Survivors whose lives have been affected by cancer, as well as those currently undergoing treatment, and their caretakers.
- The WCCF, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and other partners will be onsite pregame in SeatGeek Legends Plaza, promoting early detection and ways to get screened in the region.
- Fans will receive "I Fight For" cards in SeatGeek Legends Plaza and can fill in the blank for who they are fighting for.
- During the second quarter, the team will recognize Nicholas, a 16-year-old boy who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left femur in 2022. In August 2023, Nicholas concluded his last chemotherapy treatment and was declared cancer free on September 20. Nicholas will ring a bell on-field in front of thousands of fans, recognizing he is cancer free. The announcement means he will be able to resume high school as a junior.
- At halftime, the All-Star survivors, those currently undergoing treatment, and their caretakers will be celebrated on-field representing all the colors from the NFL's Crucial Catch logo. Lavender: All Cancers; Pink: Breast Cancer; Teal: Cervical Cancer; Navy: Colon Cancer; White: Lung Cancer; Purple: Pancreatic Cancer; Yellow/Gold: Childhood/Pediatric Cancer; Blue: Prostate Cancer.
- Caly Bevier, an ovarian cancer survivor and a semi-finalist on "America's Got Talent" will perform Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" during the halftime ceremony. Bevier also will perform the National Anthem prior to kickoff.
- During the start of the second half, Callum, a 10-year-old diagnosed with Sonic hedgehog medulloblastoma in December 2019, will serve as the Kickoff Kid.
- This year the team will host a VIP experience for over 30 survivors. Each group will watch the game from a suite:
- 10 Women All-Star Survivors of breast cancer from the American Cancer Society
- 10 Men All-Star Survivors of prostate cancer from the Prostate Cancer Foundation
- 10 kids in remission or currently undergoing treatment for various types of pediatric cancer identified by the Hogfarmers Foundation
- Crucial Catch-branded scarfs will be distributed as a gate giveaway on a first-come, first-served basis.
- As a continued annual tradition, Zeta Tau Alpha student and alumni chapters from the DMV area will distribute 40,000 pink ribbons to promote breast cancer awareness and prevention and a pink firetruck will be on display pregame in front of Gate A.
- The field design will include Crucial Catch themed in-bowl banners and goal post wraps.
- Commanders players and coaches will wear official NFL-issued Crucial Catch sideline gear representing all cancers.
- The Command Force entertainment team will perform a special routine to "Survivor" by Destiny's Child with recognition of the Crucial Catch multi-colored logo representing all cancers. The team will wear Crucial Catch apparel and will use rainbow colored pom poms throughout the game.
- Proceeds from the WCCF 50/50 raffle will benefit Children's National Prince George's County.
Fans are encouraged to use the hashtags #HTTC and #CrucialCatch for a chance to be included on the video boards in-game for all themed Crucial Catch activations.
Outside of gameday, the Commanders will host four additional events throughout the month of October: A Hope Kit Luncheon, an event at the Childrens Inn at NIH, a Crucial Catch and Minority Cancer Awareness Press Conference, and a prostate cancer event in partnership with Robert F. Smith.
On Monday, October 16, the Commanders will host a Hope Kit Luncheon at DC Prime, presented by VHC Health. The 2023 women All-Star Survivors, significant others of Commanders coaches and players, and Commanders staff will package 300 Hope Kits for women going through treatment for breast cancer in the DMV area. The Commanders will collaborate with VHC Health and the National Breast Cancer Foundation to pack and distribute the Hope Kits. VHC Health will distribute 100 of the kits to women undergoing breast cancer treatment in the DMV.
On Monday, October 23, select Commanders players and 2023 team dog Goldie will visit The Children's Inn at NIH, an organization that provides free lodging to children and young adults that are receiving treatment at NIH in Bethesda, MD. Commanders players will visit the clinic's pediatric unit and interact with kids by partaking in football and fall-themed activities including pumpkin carving and painting.
On Monday, October 30, the Commanders and the NFL will conduct a Crucial Catch and Minority Cancer Awareness Press Conference at a neighborhood health community center in Alexandria, Virginia. Each year the NFL funds CHANGE grants to provide screenings and resources to underserved communities in all 32 markets. Commanders Team President Jason Wright and Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Washington Commanders Charitable Foundation Valerie Biberaj will give remarks and tour the local facility that received this year's NFL CHANGE Grant.
On October, the WCCF and Washington Legends (alumni) will host an event with Robert F. Smith, the Conference of National Black Churches, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, promoting early detection and ways to get screened in the local DMV community. This partnership stems from philanthropist and investor Robert F. Smith, who donated $1.9 million toward the development of a test that will help identify the likelihood of developing prostate cancer over a lifetime. Washington Legends, alongside the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Conference of National Black Churches, will launch an early detection awareness campaign. Additional details will be announced closer to each event.
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