October 17, 2011

Larry Fitzgerald Wears PINK

We had fun this weekend going up to the mountains on Saturday and hiking to a remote waterfall.  The trees are turning colors and the weather was beautiful and clear.  We live in a beautiful world.
Speaking of colorful things…  Today, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought I'd tell you about an athlete who isn't afraid to wear pink.  And I'm not talking about a female athlete, it's a GUY!  Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals football team supports cancer research by being a spokesman for the American Cancer Society and wearing pink.
How many guy friends of yours would wear bright pink, completely (even gloves and shoes) out in public?  Larry is a tough and rugged football player.  Was it hard for him to put on all that pink and then have his picture taken for the cover of a popular magazine?
He does it to honor his Mom.  Several years ago his Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Larry was in the eighth grade.  He and his dad and brother supported her during her treatment.  She had always been healthy and strong, it was hard for him to see her frail and bald.  She used to tell him, "Larry, you're a football player.  That's what you do, but that's not who you are.  Who you are is represented by what you do off the field."  So he tries to do his part in the community, and he chose breast cancer as his focus.  In 2010, he became a spokesman for the American Cancer Society as part of the NFL's 'A Crucial Catch' campaign.  It encourages women over 40 to get screened for the disease and raises money by selling pink NFL merchandise.  Several players, like Larry, wear the gear at games, then it is auctioned off and the money raised is donated to the cause.    
He said, "I learned a lot about how to treat people from her—principles that help me do the work that I do off the field.  My family did a breast cancer walk every year, even before my mom was diagnosed with it.  It was something already ingrained in me and has become such a huge part of my life.  If I can help someone's mom or sister or grandmother, that's one less family that has to be affected by this disease."
So when you see football players wearing pink gloves or cleats, don't snicker.  They are showing support for the cure.  Larry said, "We play a rough and tough game, but at the end of the day we have women in our lives whom we care about and love dearly who are dealing with this disease."  
He goes further by pledging money based on his personal success in football games in October.  On his website, Larry said, "This weekend marks the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. This year, I'll be donating $10,000 for every touchdown and $1,000 for every reception I have in October - the funds will be donated to organizations working to end breast cancer and to support breast cancer survivors."  (see Oct 2nd post 'In His Own Words')  Let's hope he plays really well in October!
Larry credits his mom for his success in Football.  When he was seven, his dad refused to sign him up to play football.  He didn't want him to get hurt because he was so little.  But his Mom caved in to his begging and signed him up.  When his dad saw that he was having fun and doing well, he started supporting him too.  Now he is a successful wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, a team he helped bring to the Super Bowl.  He recently signed an extension of his contract valued at $120 million, making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL.  Clearly he's a great player to merit that kind of pay.  What I like about him is his commitment to helping others too.  Without his mother's illness and influence, would he wear pink in public and give so much of his own money away?  Probably not!


Fitzgerald, Larry as told to Christina M. Tapper.  “From the Heart:  My Mother Lost her Battle with Breast Cancer in 2003 But She Continues to Inspire Me to Help Others.”  Sports Illustrated Kids Oct 2011:32-34.  Print.
­­­Fitzgerald, Larry.  “In My Words.” LarryFitzgerald11.com Web. 17 Oct 2011.

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