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Teddy's Mom helps Vikings support women's initiatives

MINNEAPOLIS —Rose Murphy, the mother of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, is one of the Vikings most exuberant and vocal fans.

Clad in a custom pink and white jersey, the breast cancer survivor shared her support for others Sunday.

Ms. Murphy joined volunteers and leaders from Zeta Tau Alpha before Minnesota hosted Kansas City to distribute 25,000 pink ribbons as fans entered the game.

In addition to telling fans about the importance of early detection through annual screenings — a primary message of the NFL's A Crucial Catch initiative — Murphy listened with ears adorned by pink ribbon earrings and gave heartfelt hugs and words of encouragement to those who have been impacted by the disease.

"Anytime you've gone through anything like breast cancer or other type of cancer, it's a blessing to listen to the people," Ms. Murphy said. "People have stories that are more severe than mine, and I just count it as an honor and a pleasure to give back, help someone else and be part of this day."

Ms. Murphy advised those confronted by the cruel disease to, "Continue to fight. Don't give up, don't give in. Have faith and keep fighting."

The pink ribbon distribution was one of several displays of support that also included distribution of free pink and white rally towels from Bridgestone and the on-field display of a pink ribbon by 32 individuals who have been impacted by breast cancer.

Vikings Owner/Vice Chairman Leonard Wilf presented United Family Medicine with a $100,000 grant on behalf of the Vikings, the NFL Foundation and the American Cancer Society to increase the availability of annual screenings.

"Women are so important in our lives, whether it's wives, sisters, mothers, daughters," Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said. "We want to make sure we promote these types of issues and be family friendly. That's what we're all about at the Vikings."

The support occurred on a day when the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx sounded the Gjallarhorn and the Vikings announced multiple women's initiatives.

The Vikings collected nearly $175,000 in women's personal care products and money in the lead up to the game for Matter, a local non-profit that will distribute the items to women's shelters.

"We believe companies are the bedrock of this community so we're so thankful to the Minnesota Vikings for inviting us out," said Matter President Quenton Marty.

Tami Krause, Vikings Director of Women's Initiatives, said the Vikings appreciated the donations by retailers and fans as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"We're able to supplement women's shelters in the community because of what they've done and what our fans have done," Krause said. "The Vikings honor women, they've been doing that and they're continuing to do that. They're elevating it more."

The Vikings also had a ribbon cutting ceremony for the installation of two Mamava lactation suites at the University of Minnesota that will be moved to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 and suites that have been installed at the team's Winter Park headquarters and downtown office location.

Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren, whose sister passed away from breast cancer, said the initiatives are part of the Wilf family's commitment to building a "best in-class atmosphere."

"We want to have the best franchise, not only on the field but in the front office and in the community," Warren said. "It was an outstanding environment on Sunday to see all the pink there and the support and love we give to our women. You can imagine how important our female fans are to us. The numbers continue to grow. I can see one day in the near future that 50 percent of Season Ticket Holders will be women.

"What we're doing is from a respect standpoint to let women know we appreciate them, respect them, we honor them," Warren added. "They have a voice with us." 

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