CHARLOTTE - On Sunday, Oct. 9th, the Carolina Panthers and Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute will honor breast cancer fighters and survivors who are serving as the game's honorary Crucial Catch coin toss captains. Together, they will honor those who have lost their battle to cancer, those who are in the fight as well as celebrate those who have conquered the disease.
The captains' nameplates will read Warrior, Grateful, Conqueror, Hope, Fighter, Love and Survivor to recognize both the courage and resolve that is a hallmark of those battling the disease, as well as recognizing the love and care provided by family and medical support systems so vital to patients.
The Carolina Panthers would like to thank Atrium Health for selecting Sunday's captains:
--Carol Walker is a stage one breast cancer survivor. For over two decades, she's been an advocate for breast cancer screenings. Early detection helped save her life. Walker was diagnosed with cancer in 2021 after a routine mammogram. In April of last year, doctors performed a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Months later, her husband was also diagnosed with cancer. After a tough year and a half, she shares that life is incredibly precious and it's important to make the most of it. That meant moving to the Carolinas to be closer to her daughter, grandkids and the breast cancer team at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute.
--Charisma Hibbler is a stage three double-positive breast cancer survivor of over a year. She discovered a lump when she was nursing her daughter. Her sister then convinced her to get a mammogram. During her treatments, her community of friends from church and loved ones, along with her faith in Jesus Christ, made all the difference! She's also inspired by her real-life heroes – the many frontline healthcare workers providing excellent care in our community. In her spare time, she enjoys getting outdoors and going to parks and greenways in the area with her husband, Mike, and her two daughters.
--Ramona Reeves, is a stage one breast cancer survivor who received treatment at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. Earlier this year, she had a lumpectomy and radiation after doctors found cancer during a routine mammogram. Her message to the community is all about early detection. Don't wait to schedule your annual mammogram. Get screened. You may not have symptoms, but you could still have cancer. Ramona loves spending time with her husband and three sons and is also an avid jazz fan.
--Mary Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2021. She has since completed chemotherapy and radiation therapy at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. Her experience with cancer taught her to be fully in the moment and to let go of the small stuff. She loves exploring new places with her grandkids, honing her artistic talents, and soaking in nature with her husband. She finds joy in searching for shark teeth at the beach or tending to the goats, chickens and alpacas at her homestead farm. Her advice to others undergoing treatment is to stay positive, make healthy choices, and listen to their doctors. If you have a loved one or friend that's currently battling cancer, she suggests offering words of encouragement or even a victory fist pump.
--Adriana Ruiz is a stage two breast cancer survivor. Adriana says her journey reminded her to trust that God has a plan through difficult times. She credits her care team at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute with saving her life and is thankful for her husband Jason's incredible support. She's an avid world traveler and even lived abroad in China years ago. When she's not wheels up to a new destination or hiking a nearby mountain with her husband and dog she enjoys local restaurants. This month – and year-round – she urges the community to raise awareness for breast cancer by supporting cancer research efforts.
--Dr. Brooke Hager is a triple positive breast cancer survivor of over two years. She is a resident family physician at Atrium Health who is passionate about educating women on the importance of mammograms and to keep their breast health front and center. Dr. Hager was diagnosed with breast cancer on her second day of work as a resident in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2021, Dr. Hager finished all her treatments at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute and is now back at work caring for her patients. She is an avid sports fan and enjoys cheering on the Carolina Panthers and other local sports teams, especially those who raise awareness for breast cancer!
--Brittany Yokley is a triple positive breast cancer survivor. Brittany credits mammograms and her care team at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute for saving her life. Brittany learned the value of patience during her experience with breast cancer and feels lucky that her care team's skillset and encouragement supported her while she was going through all her treatments. Brittany loves to travel, spend time with her husband and dog, and is the ultimate host who loves having family and friends over! She encourages all women to remain diligent with their mammograms and says early detection afforded her the opportunity to catch her cancer early and tackle it right away.
Custom Keep Pounding wallpaper, presented by Atrium Health
Keep Pounding for the cause this week as the Panthers host the Crucial Catch game against the 49ers for cancer research and awareness.
Click for a chance to win a custom phone wallpaper with the reason you Keep Pounding. Winners will be selected and emailed their custom wallpaper after Sunday's game.