The San Diego Chargers took the issue one step further Tuesday, becoming the first NFL franchise to offer free mammograms as well as clinical breast examines to the entire public.
Photo Gallery: Chargers Hold Breast Cancer Screening Event For Public | More Photos
“It’s great that everyone in the NFL is wearing pink, but the Chargers are taking things to a huge new level by offering lifesaving screenings,” said Susan G. Komen Executive Director Laura Farmer Sherman. “Some of these women have never been to the doctor in their whole life. The Chargers are saving some of these women’s lives, and that is really what this is all about. We knew that breast cancer when found in its earliest stages is ultimately survivable with 98% of people surviving. But you have to catch it early and the only way to do that is a mammogram. And that’s what’s happening today. The Chargers have funded access to free mammograms, and these women have no insurance and nowhere to go, but the Chargers have given them this opportunity.”
Partnering with Susan G. Komen San Diego, the County’s largest funder of free breast cancer treatments, services and support, hundreds of women took advantage of the unique opportunity, including many who have never had a mammogram in their entire life. In fact, when the Chargers arrived bright and early at 6:00am to begin setting up for a 9:00am start time, three women were already waiting for them. All of them had lumps in their breast and had nowhere to go, like many of the other women that came later in the day.
“I saw on the news this morning that this was going on,” said one woman who opted to remain nameless since she was skipping work to attend. “I never could afford one, so I called out sick this morning and headed down here. It’s wonderful the Chargers are doing this. I’ve never heard of something like this.”
Tuesday’s event is near and dear to Susie Spanos, wife of San Diego Chargers President Dean Spanos and a breast cancer survivor herself.
“This is a huge event for the Chargers because this is a culmination of an NFL dream that has taken 15 years to come to fruition,” she said. “This showcases women’s issues. But not only is it affecting women, it is affecting their families. This is important because I really believe you have to take care of yourself. And this is a way to do that, so it’s really important for everyone to take responsibility and care of themselves. So to see all the women who have come out today, there is a tremendous energy here. It’s really heartwarming to see how much it means to these women. It is the first year we’re doing this, and we’re the first team to do it, so it’s special. So I hope everyone gets checked. I hope everyone loves themselves enough to take care of themselves.”