ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Bills defensive end Ryan Denney neglected to inform his mother Sheri about the big surprise he had in store when he took the field for Buffalo's game at Miami last weekend. Taking part in the NFL's ``Crucial Catch'' campaign to promote breast cancer awareness, Denney wore pink cleats in a personal nod to his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.
Her reaction afterward was priceless.
She thought it was awesome. She really wanted a photo of me in the pink shoes so she could keep it,'' Denney said.I did it in honor of her.''
It was the least Denny felt he could do a little more than a year after learning his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after attending a free examination. Fortunately, it was detected early and Sheri Denney is cancer-free following months of radiation treatment.
Maybe it challenges your manhood a little to wear pink on the football field,'' he said.But really for me, since my mother's situation, it was an easy choice to make.''
The NFL is making breast cancer awareness a priority this month in a campaign aimed at getting women over 40 screened annually. Bills players - from Denney to Terrell Owens - and many around the league are wearing pink cleats, gloves and wristbands during games. Pink ribbons have been stenciled on the field and teams are using pink towels along the sidelines.
Members of NFL coaching staffs are wearing team caps with a pink rims, while cheerleaders are using pink pompoms.
The promotion particularly stresses the need for women to have annual exams, because early detection provides the best opportunity to save lives. It's estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Bills fan and breast cancer survivor Corrinne Cristofaro was overcome with emotion when she turned on her TV last week to see the number of NFL players wearing pink.
I wrote on my Facebook page, 'I'm laying here sobbing as I see the pink, but am also thanking God that these rough, tough men are willing to step up for us,''' Cristofaro said.What this means is that it's finally over in terms of getting the message out.''
Cristofaro discovered she had cancer by conducting a self-examination. Not soon after, she learned that her sister had breast cancer through early detection. Both she and her sister are now cancer-free.
Running back Fred Jackson, who's wearing pink gloves, is humbled by the reaction he and his teammates have received.
Just to know we can affect people like that just by wearing a color, that's something,'' Jackson said.It's just to let them know they have all our support. It's a huge thing and I'm glad to be part of it.''
The Bills will unveil their fourth annual ``Billieve'' breast cancer awareness campaign on Sunday, when they host Cleveland.