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Lunch Break, 10/15: Players Share BCA Stories

Partnered with the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Vikings hosted their fourth annual "A Crucial Catch" Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon where breast cancer survivors and their caregivers were honored. At the event, current Vikings players shared their stories of how breast cancer has affected them and their families.

Ben Goessling of ESPN writes about the event here:

*Teddy Bridgewater was 14, the last of four kids still at home, when his mother Rose Murphy told him she had breast cancer. *

*Jerome Felton was going through training camp with the Minnesota Vikings last summer when he got a text message from his older sister, Maike Bachmann, saying she had something important to tell him. *

*Antone Exum's mother, Barbara, was diagnosed a week after Exum's grandmother had died from cancer. Not wanting to worry her two children with the news, she went through treatments in silence, finally telling her kids two years later that she'd beaten the disease. *

*Those three players, along with defensive end Everson Griffen, appeared at the team's 4th annual Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon with stories to tell about how the disease had affected them personally. Griffen, who got married over the summer, said at the event his mother-in-law has been in remission for years. Felton's sister has been in remission since January, Bridgewater's mother beat the disease in 2008 and Exum's mother has been cancer-free since he was in ninth grade. *

*All 32 teams take part in the NFL's breast cancer awareness initiatives each October, but the Vikings have become a team with some poignant stories about the disease now that rookies such as Bridgewater (whose mother blew the Gjallarhorn before Sunday's game) and Exum (whose mother was an honorary captain and did the coin toss for the game against the Detroit Lions) are on the team. Exum talked at length about the importance of early detection, saying his mother was able to avoid chemotherapy through two mastectomies after she was diagnosed. *

*"I can't speak enough about (early detection). That's what saved my mom," Exum said. "She got checked, found out she was diagnosed with cancer, but they were able to catch it at such an early stage that they didn't have to do chemo and things like that." *

*Exum said his mother has been texting him all week about how much fun she had at the game on Sunday, teasing him that she'd become a NFL captain before he did. Bridgewater, who goes with his mother to visit breast cancer survivors when he's at home in South Florida, was fighting a stomach bug on Tuesday, but said being part of the event was an obvious way to use his platform to raise awareness about the disease. *

"It's been a huge part of my life because my mom went through the entire process," he said. "I know how much of an impact you can have in someone's life by being supportive of them."

During the event, breast cancer survivors, their caregivers and Vikings players mingled and shared stories while a raffle for prizes, with Everson Griffen serving as the emcee, ended the program.

Quick Hitters

  • Vikings safety Harrison Smith hosted the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities for a fun kickball game at Winter Park Tuesday night.

  • Vikings specialists Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke continued their off day tradition of visiting local hospitals. (Embed Blair's Instagram at hospital)
  • Via Star Tribune's Mark Craig: Zimmer needs Vikings to grow with their rookie QB.
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