Advocate, Chicago Bears raise breast cancer awareness

  • From left, Yvonne DiCristofano, Chicago Bears mascot Staley da Bear and Sandra Gancarz at the recent Monday Night Lights pep rally held at Maine East High School.

    From left, Yvonne DiCristofano, Chicago Bears mascot Staley da Bear and Sandra Gancarz at the recent Monday Night Lights pep rally held at Maine East High School. Courtesy of Advocate Health Care

 
Submitted by Advocate Health Care

On Sept. 24, a little Soldier Field pregame excitement made its way to the suburbs when Advocate Health Care and the Chicago Bears hosted Monday Night Lights, a pep rally for breast cancer awareness at Maine Memorial Stadium at Maine East High School.

Dozens of cancer survivors and fighters, physicians, surgeons, and health navigators from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, and members from the surrounding communities donned pink and headed to the field to raise awareness for the disease that affects one in eight women during her lifetime.

"Every two minutes a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer. Prioritizing breast health is one of the most important things women can do," said Dr. Heidi Memmel, breast surgeon and co-medical director of the Caldwell Breast Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

"Although many women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, more are surviving than ever before thanks to newer methods of early detection and advances in treatment."

Chicago Bears players Javon Wims, James Daniels, Benny Cunningham, and Pat O'Donnell were on hand for a meet-and-greet session and ceremony honoring and celebrating breast cancer survivors and fighters and the unveiling of the 2018 "Real Bears Fans Wear Pink" T-shirts.

The crowd cheered as breast cancer survivors and fighters ran through a tunnel of performers to the stage, where Memmel and the Bears discussed the importance of early detection, raising awareness of the disease, and honored those currently fighting.

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"You think you are young and healthy, and it does not seem like it could happen to you," said Beth Levy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this June and is currently undergoing treatment at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and was honored at Monday Night Lights.

"But it can. It can happen to anyone. That is why raising awareness about the importance of early detection, knowing your risk, getting your annual mammogram and doing monthly self-breast exams is so important."

In addition to the presentation, attendees participated in Mini Monsters, tailgate games, face painting, balloon artistry, selfie stations and had a chance to win Bears tickets at some of the booths.

Entertainment was provided by team mascot Staley da Bear, the Bears Drumline and Monster Squad, and music by DJ Jay Illa. Local entertainment included the Maine East High School Marching Band, cheerleaders, and poms squad. Food trucks kept fans fueled throughout the night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In addition to enjoying an entertaining evening, those who attended had the opportunity to focus on their health as well. Community members could stop by booths to schedule a mammogram and take a Breast Health Risk Assessment.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Sunday, Oct. 21, Advocate Health Care and the Chicago Bears will officially recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the game against the New England Patriots.

"Advocate and the Chicago Bears' partnership is driven by a joint commitment to improving health and wellness in our communities," said Kelly Jo Golson, Chief Marketing Officer, Advocate Aurora Health, of which Advocate Health Care is a part.

"That's what today is about -- using our partnership, using our voices to raise awareness and help save lives."

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