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Zeta Tau Alpha Honors Tanya Snyder In New Orleans


Tanya Snyder spoke from the heart about breast cancer.

Herself a survivor, she was at Redskins Park last September for a luncheon with 20 other area women who had also battled breast cancer to at least a draw.

She spoke again on Thursday night in New Orleans, where she was honored by Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity for women at its 50th national convention for her work in raising awareness of breast cancer. The other honoree was Betty Nguyen of CBS News.

After addressing the gathering, Mrs. Snyder, the wife of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, was initiated into ZTA.

The Redskins, in 1999, became the first team to dedicate a game to breast-cancer education and awareness, working with ZTA alumnae in the Washington, D.C. area. In the ensuing years, 28 of the 32 teams have worked with ZTA for Think Pink! games, in which many players wear pink gloves or shoes and fans receive pink ribbons to show support. Mrs. Snyder was a founding partner of this movement with ZTA.

She also served last season as the NFL's national spokesperson for breast-cancer programs in its "A Crucial Catch" campaign.

"I thought I had to speak out on this through the NFL," she said that afternoon at Redskins Park as players mingled with guests of all ages who had in common one thing – breast cancer.

In 2004, Mrs. Snyder's mother faced breast cancer. In 2008, Mrs. Snyder, the mother of three, got her own diagnosis and underwent two surgeries.

"This past year taught me I'm not invincible," she said.

Resilient, though. Last July she took part in the Race for the Cure in Aspen.

The club's involvement with this cause runs deep. The event last September, co-sponsored by tight end Chris Cooley and guard Derrick Dockery and their wives, the Redskins' Charitable Foundation and the American Cancer Society, allowed the guests to tour Redskins Park and get some health and personal care tips.

That involvement is personal. Cooley's mom was diagnosed in 2008 and began treatment. Dockery's mom is a survivor but he lost an aunt and his mother-in-law to the disease.

Though always careful about diet and exercise, Mrs. Snyder learned a lesson about breast cancer that she continues to share.

"Pay attention to yourself," she tells women. "Put yourself on the calendar. This is something that's treatable."

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at and follow him on

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