Ten cancer warriors who have either battled or are currently battling all types of cancer, paired up with 49ers players to create custom denim jackets generously donated by Levi's®.
As a part of the NFL's Crucial Catch mission to fight cancer through early detection and risk reduction, the San Francisco 49ers raised awareness by honoring cancer survivors and those currently battling cancer during the team's first Community Tuesday event.
A group of 17 players used their one off-day from their football schedule to engage in a heartwarming and inspiring art therapy session presented by Dignity Health with 10 remarkable cancer warriors. These warriors are individuals who have battled or are currently battling all types of cancer. The players' motivation to be part of this event was deeply personal with many of them having experienced the effects of cancer within their own families and circles of friends.
"It was really important for me," quarterback Brock Purdy said. "Coming here today and being with some cancer warriors who are either going through or beat a tough time. Just being there for them and talking to them. Honestly, for us, being able to hear their stories and be changed and motivated from it has been special all around."
The central activity of the day revolved around painting. Each player was paired with a cancer warrior, and together they set to work on canvases. The guiding theme was to "paint what strength means to you." This allowed both the players and the cancer warriors to express their individual perspectives on strength, resilience and the power to overcome adversity.
"This was a really special experience for me," linebacker Fred Warner said. "I was with (cancer warriors) Andy and his wonderful wife... People talk about how hard playing football is. It's nothing compared to the type of stuff that him and his wife have gone through. So just to sit and make a little something on these pictures to represent the strength that Andy has shown has been awesome.
"To do something that represented strength, what better representation of that than a muscle. I asked Andy and his wife what got them through their battles with cancer and allowed them to beat it, and they said their love for one another as well as 49ers football. So that's why I put the heart with the Niners logo right in the middle, representing what got them through their toughest times."
The 49ers plan on turning these paintings into wearable art. The artwork created on the canvases will be transferred onto denim jackets generously donated by Levi's®. The players and cancer warriors will proudly don their personalized jackets in their arrival outfits to the Week 4 Crucial Catch contest against the Arizona Cardinals on October 1.
The art therapy session not only allowed the players to connect with the cancer warriors on a deeper level, but also demonstrated that strength comes in many forms. The Crucial Catch initiative reminds fans and the sports world that football is more than just a game – it's a platform for athletes to make a positive impact on the lives of those who need it most.