For the last 14 years, the NFL and American Cancer Society (ACS) have teamed up to support the fight against cancer through "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer." The initiative, which kicks off in stadiums Sunday and continues to be highlighted through Week 6 games, addresses early detection and risk reduction efforts across multiple types of cancers.
Since its inception, Crucial Catch has placed an emphasis on getting screened and catching cancer early when it may be easier to treat. New this year, through funding provided by the NFL as part of the Crucial Catch initiative, fans and members of the NFL family will be able to easily find their nearest cancer-screening center and additional screening resources at NFL.com/CrucialCatch or by texting "CATCH" to 635635. The website also provides resources for fans to determine the type of cancer screening they need, a cancer hotline and a 24-hour chat for anyone who needs their screening questions answered.
This year, Crucial Catch will also be featured in a brand spot that is part of the league's new "We See You" campaign. Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchie III, who was recently diagnosed with a form of leukemia, is featured in the public service announcement and is helping use his voice to encourage others to get screened.
"With my recent cancer diagnosis, I know now more than ever the importance of screening and early detection," said John Metchie III, Houston Texans wide receiver. "I'm thankful to be able to use my voice and my story to encourage others to get screened so they can catch cancer early when it's easier to treat."
The NFL has funded the American Cancer Society's Community Health Advocates Implementation Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) grants since 2012, which have contributed to more than 600,000 screenings in under-resourced communities and reached more than 1.3 million individuals through education, screening reminders and patient navigation.
All 32 NFL teams will have the option of supporting the Crucial Catch initiative in stadiums and in their communities this year. In addition, players may wear cleats and shoelaces in any color representing the type of cancer awareness they support or have been impacted by during their team's Crucial Catch game. Moreover, 22 NFL players, including John Metchie III, have joined the American Cancer Society as player ambassadors to champion the fight against cancer as part of Crucial Catch.
Beginning on Sunday, October 2, and continuing through Week 6, NFL Crucial Catch games will feature an array of in-game visuals such as Crucial Catch game balls, goal-post wraps and field-wall banners, branded on-field equipment for players, coaches, and officials among other activations that will make the initiative come alive in-stadium. Game-worn Crucial Catch merchandise will be auctioned at NFL.com/Auction.
Fan Creations has also released Crucial Catch wooden signs again this year to remind those that have been diagnosed with cancer that they are not alone in fighting this disease which will be available for purchase on NFLShop.com and proceeds will go to ACS.