The San Francisco 49ers and the new Stanford Women's Cancer Center teamed up to beat breast cancer on Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. As part of the NFL's Breast Cancer Awareness program, the 49ers gameday activities served to help spread the vital message of the Crucial Catch campaign.
"As plans were coming together for this year's Breast Cancer Awareness game, we learned that a significant number of the members of our 49ers family have been impacted by this prolific form of cancer. From our coaching staff to players, front office staff to ownership, nearly everyone had a story to share about a loved one who had recently battled breast cancer," said Joanne Pasternack, Director of Community Relations/49ers Foundation. "Some of these brave 49ers family members – mothers, aunts, and godmothers – will be joining the other survivors on the field on October 30 to bring visibility to the prevalence of breast cancer and the importance of early detection through the NFL's messaging of 'A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives.'"
During halftime, after an emotional performance of Martina McBride's I'm Gonna Love You Through It by the 49ers Gold Rush and a video featuring 49ers with a personal connection to breast cancer through their families, members of the 49ers family who have been affected by breast cancer took the field, along with other courageous women whose lives have been impacted by the disease.
"I think today is wonderful. This game means so much, and it is very important to increase awareness of the importance of early detection. I've had breast cancer four times, and if it wasn't for early detection, I wouldn't be here," said Betty Jo Tomsula, mother of 49ers Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula. "What I'm most looking forward to today? Number one, a win. Number two is halftime to go out and see all the survivors, which is really touching."
The amazing women were ecstatic to take part in the halftime ceremony to bring awareness and they were met with rounds of applause from the audience who saluted their bravery.
"This is our first year with the 49ers and I'm very excited to be a part of this celebration to increase awareness of breast cancer," said Joyce Goodwin, mother of 49ers Center Jonathan Goodwin. "With my son being on the team, it's a great opportunity to speak out and to show up for breast cancer. I've always supported the cause even before my personal involvement. So, it's exciting to be here with the 49ers. The team is doing great. I love it."
Pink was the color of the day, as everyone from fans to coaches to players all sported pink gear to show unity and support for those affected. Also pretty in pink, breast cancer survivor Geraldine Archibeque, who participated in the halftime ceremony, was excited to share in the game's festivities to recognize the importance of simply being aware.
"Everybody kind of talks about it, but then when they see people who are walking and talking, they realize you really do make it. Different ages, different races, just all kinds of people. So, it's really neat," Archibeque said. "From my perspective, it's really significant just because again, we can let people know that you do make it through and survive, and can still participate in everyday activities. Life goes on."
The halftime ceremony concluded with a special presentation of a commemorative scarf to each woman by 49ers alumni including Dwight Clark, Joe Nedney, Keena Turner, Guy McIntyre, Dennis Brown, Steve Bono, Dana McLemore, Darryl Pollard, Eric Wright, Eason Ramson, Tim Anderson, and Milt McColl.
The 49ers were also honored to help bring awareness to the new Stanford Women's Cancer Center, which provides women with a warm and calming environment while undergoing treatment.
"The partnership of the 49ers and the new Women's Cancer Center at Stanford is awesome. I'm a longtime cancer patient, so, I've been through the old one, and now the new one, and with something as huge as the 49ers being a part of it is just amazing," said breast cancer survivor Lisa Davis. "The New Women's Center at Stanford is probably one of the most comfortable settings, and just the comfort you feel when you go in there is amazing—it really is. It's a long, hard journey and people don't realize that the awareness of it can make a huge difference in not just the outcome of your treatment, but what you have to go through. If you catch it early enough, it's not nearly as excruciating as it could be if you don't find it until it's late."
In order to help spread the message of the importance of early detection, volunteers from Stanford, the American Cancer Society and Zeta Tau Alpha provided fans with commemorative Breast Cancer Awareness 49ers pins and informative pamphlets on annual screenings. Additionally,a portion of the proceeds from purchased game tickets were donated directly to the fight against breast cancer, and to help find a cure.