INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, October 2, the Indianapolis Colts took a meaningful trip to the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center for their fifth "Community Tuesday" of the 2012 season. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Colts players TE Dwayne Allen, TE Dominique Jones, TE Kyle Miller and LS Matt Overton met with more than 30 patients who are currently being treated for various forms of cancers.
For an hour and a half, the patients were freed from cancer worries and able to focus on the excitement of the visit. The eyes of patients were filled with joy as Allen pushed a cart full of goodie bags down the hall. Jones and Miller rallied autographed posters, while Overton made certain each patient and family member took a group photo with the players as a special keepsake.
"Each of these grown-ups look like little kids at Christmas time," said Dr. Patrick Loehrer of IU Simon Cancer Center. The center is the largest cancer hospital in the state of Indiana, serving more than 40,000 patients each year.
The patients were from all walks of life, from the young mother of an infant, to a grandmother whose cancer returned after being in remission, to a husband and wife both diagnosed with cancer, sitting side-by-side for treatments. Many of the patients shared their long-time love for Colts football. Each player took a moment to learn about each patient's unique story, share words of encouragement and to give thanks.
Overton, who has a grandmother and aunt currently battling cancer, made a bold statement in support of cancer awareness by declaring that he wanted to shave his head bald. Dr. Loehrer and two cancer patients served as 'honorary barbers' for Overton. Proving that teamwork goes beyond the field, Allen joined the hair-cutting action, careful to leave a signature rattail for Overton to discover and remove prior to exiting the room.
The visit, scheduled prior to learning of Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano's recent diagnosis of Leukemia, held a special place in the hearts of Colts players and staff. Colts players walked away with a different perspective on strength and a stronger appreciation for life, rooted in the lives of the courageous patients who are fighting to become cancer survivors.
To see how the Colts are continuing Breast Cancer Awareness efforts in the month of October, visit www.colts.com/pink.
About Colts Community Tuesdays
During the regular NFL season, Tuesday is the only day off players receive. As a result, the Colts utilize every Tuesday to engage their players in various charitable events and programs throughout Central Indiana. From schools and hospital visits to blood drives and holiday outreach, Colts players participate in a wide variety of "Community Tuesday" activities throughout the season. For more information on all of the Colts outreach efforts, visit www.colts.com/community.
About Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center
The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center is a patient care, research, and educational organization within the Indiana University School of Medicine, located on the school's main campus in Indianapolis. Established in 1992 as the IU Cancer Center, it has been an National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center since 1999 and is the only center with such distinction in Indiana that provides patient care. It changed its name in 2006 to reflect the philanthropic support of the Melvin and Bren Simon family. IU Simon Cancer Center advances the understanding, prevention and treatment of cancer throughout Indiana and the world with patient-centered care, acceleration of promising science and collaborative educational programs. For more information, visit www.cancer.iu.edu.