Tim Donis may play football at George Mason High, but it’s the shoes that signify he’s playing for more than the other young men on the team.
The vibrant pink and black cleats Donis, 17, laces up before practices and games are worn in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Each week he plays for the love of the game, his teammates and two women he’s close to who have experienced their own bouts with breast cancer.
“One of them is my step-mother,” the senior lineman said before Wednesday’s practice. “She doesn’t have it anymore but she still has to go for checkups.”
High school, collegiate and professional athletes throughout the United States are donning pink this month in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It’s not just the teenaged athletes that are drawing awareness to breast cancer, but their coaches have gotten involved, too.
said he thinks if a player wants to wear pink for breast cancer awareness month it tells people that he has lost someone to the cancer or has an interest in finding a cure.
During their Oct. 5 home game against Washington & Lee High, Said Aziz, head football coach at Falls Church High declared the event as their “Pink Game.” The Jaguars wore a pink article of clothing with their dark green and white uniform and fans were encouraged to wear pink as well.
“I believe many people know at least one person who has suffered from breast cancer,” Aziz said. “We teach our student athletes that us wearing pink is to honor those people who have battled and are battling breast cancer.”
There are about 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, said American Cancer Society spokesman Bob Paschen. Some of those survivors and their families will take part in the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk,” on Saturday in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall.
The estimated mortality numbers for breast cancer patients this year alone is chilling. Paschen said ACS estimates more than 39,000 patients will die from breast cancer this year and more than 226,000 new patients will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
Having young athletes wearing pink during sporting events draws more awareness to the cause, he said. Breast cancer is the leading form of cancer women in the United States are diagnosed with each year, Paschen said.
“I think it’s fabulous,” Paschen said. “I think it’s great, and I think it’s cool.”
Steve Alic, a spokesman for USA Football, the sports’ national governing body, supports the high school and youth league teams that are wearing pink in observance of breast cancer. It’s not just athletes in Northern Virginia wearing pink but athletes across the country.
“This transcends football,” Alic said. “It reflects the game’s inherent values of really putting others first.”