Jennifer Ulsomer knows how special it is to bring someone to the Colts complex. She works for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and over the years, she’s helped grant the wishes of children hoping to meet their favorite players.
On Monday, she was on the receiving end of a visit.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, Ulsomer was one of nine women brought in by the Colts and their partners for the Pamper Her Pink program. It started with a visit to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and a tour of the memorabilia room.
On Monday, October 15, with the help of Ashley Homestore, Sun Tan City, Tyler Mason Salon & Spa and Harry & Izzy’s, the 2018 “Pamper Her Pink” winners were treated to an afternoon of relaxing spa services, a tour of Lucas Oil Stadium and dinner in downtown Indianapolis. The winners are currently battling, or have recently overcome, breast cancer.
“I always like to be in the background and watch everybody else’s faces explore everything and the excitement in their eyes when they realize the Super Bowl trophy is around the corner,” she said.
From there, a luxury bus took the women to get spa treatments courtesy of Tyler Mason Salon and Spa. As they were pampered, they got to know each other, sharing their stories and offering support.
“The group of women that we have here, some of them are just starting the journey, some have been out several years, some have had reoccurrences – just to know that there are other people out there and we’re all still pushing on,” said Julie Presley, a guidance counselor at Martinsville High School.
Presley is currently undergoing chemotherapy and was nominated by 22 people.
“I’m like, ‘Wow. I didn’t know I had an impact on that particular person,’” she said.
For her, the timing was perfect because she had just sent her family away for fall break.
“We already had it pre-planned to go to Disney, but I decided because I’m still in treatment that I just really needed to stay home and focus and rest before surgery,” she said. “More than one time, my husband was ready to cancel the trip and I told him, ‘Absolutely not.’ We have a 6-year-old daughter and I didn’t want her having one more thing this cancer caused.”
While they were away, she got to play – with the Colts.
The next stop for the women was a private tour of Lucas Oil Stadium.
As they entered the Colts locker room, the women were surprised by cornerback Pierre Desir and linebackers Matthew Adams and Anthony Walker. They posed for pictures, signed footballs for them, and tossed them around on the field.
“I think that’s awesome of them to take the time out of their schedules and busy days to come and support us,” said Suzy Faulkner. “It’s very heartwarming.”
Faulkner has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, for which there is no cure. She takes daily medicine and has treatments every four weeks – and will for the rest of her life.
“You just don’t give up,” she said. “I just figure, it’s not up to me in the long run and my purpose is obviously not done. So, I just keep on keeping on. And I’ve got awesome support.”
Among her many supporters, she can now count the Colts players.
“Just to see the smile on their face. That’s what it’s about. We have this platform to give back and put a smile on people’s faces,” said Walker. “We play a game for a living and what these people are dealing with, that’s real life stuff right there.”
“They were very inspiring by their attitude, how happy they seem. Their spirit just carries throughout,” said Adams.
After the tour, Adams and Walker joined the women for dinner at Harry and Izzy’s. And so did safety Matthias Farley, who had just had surgery himself that morning.
“I said, ‘I’ve got to go. It’s not a matter of if.’ They were like, ‘Well, you might be tired.’ I was like, ‘Well, that’s a terrible excuse when you’re dealing with people that are dealing with life and death.’”
The inspiration he brought was nothing compared to what he got in return.
Mendy Rodeffer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 after two mammograms missed it. She worked and coached kids in basketball while going through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and drug treatment. She went in for her one-year checkup in March and she was re-diagnosed with stage four cancer.
“My doctor said, ‘We’re just going to treat to contain.’ And I said, ‘No. You’re going to treat to cure because God can cure me,’” she said.
Today, she continues to fight – for herself, for her family, and for the women she battles alongside.
“They’re superwomen. All of them are superwomen, because they’re fighting and still going on with their day to day lives, not missing a beat, being present, being a mom, being there for their husband, all of those things. It’s a testament to them,” Farley said. “That’s what a true fighter does.”
“This is their Super Bowl,” Walker said.
And just like the Super Bowl MVP, when Presley wins her Super Bowl – she’s going to Disney World with her family.
Pamper Her Pink is sponsored by the Colts, Ashley HomeStore, Harry & Izzy's, Tyler Mason Salon & Spa and Sun Tan City.