Brandon Carr’s commitment to football is obvious, but his commitment to breast cancer awareness is having a major impact.
The Ravens cornerback has been named Week 5 NFLPA Community MVP after pledging to donate $12,500 per game this season, a total of $200,000, to fund free screenings and diagnostic mammograms through the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
It’s part of the NFL Crucial Catch initiative, and Carr’s dedication to early breast cancer detection is personal. His mother, Kathy, passed away from breast cancer in 2014, and Carr honors her memory by using his platform as a professional athlete to help others impacted by the disease.
“You hope you can continue a legacy that can inspire others who hear the story, and who have a similar story,” Carr said.
It wasn’t always easy for Carr to dedicate himself to the cause of breast cancer awareness. Grieving over his mother’s death made it difficult to get involved at first.
“My mom was a two-time battler of breast cancer,” Carr said. “She fought her butt off for five years and was in remission. The second time it came back aggressive and it was already in her bones. She fought very, very hard, lived another year, was able to see my wedding, my son born. She was strong enough to handle our worst fear for most of us – death. It gave me more courage. I’m a piece of her, so I think I got a little bit of that as well.”
Once Carr commits to something, he’s all in. He has never missed a game, making 181 straight starts over his 12-year career heading into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL’s longest current streak for non-quarterbacks. Teammates know they can rely on Carr, as do the many cancer patients he stays in touch with and visits.
“As I’ve sat there, heard stories about their journey, ultimately it’s about their faith and courage to look this disease in the eye,” Carr said. “I’m glad I took that step, mustered up enough courage to walk up this hill. We’re trying to do bigger and better things to bring awareness, to educate.”
This Sunday, the Ravens and American Cancer Society (ACS) will continue their efforts to support the fight against cancer through the Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer campaign. Prior to the game and during the national anthem, the Ravens will recognize 40 fans who have fought, and in some cases continue to fight, a wide variety of cancers.
During the game, at the first-half two-minute warning, fans will be asked to participate in a stadium-wide moment, honoring those who have courageously fought or are currently battling cancer, by displaying placards with either a pre-printed or personalized message. Volunteers from ACS will be stationed throughout the stadium to assist fans wishing to customize placards with a specific name or cause meaningful to them.