Different sports organizations dedicate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month decorating stadiums, banners and players with the color pink in an effort to increase public awareness. Although just about any athlete will say they think Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important, for athletes who either have relatives diagnosed with breast cancer or have been diagnosed themselves, the month of October carries additional importance. For Truman State University senior defensive back Jordan Brown, breast cancer hits particularly close to home.
During the month of October, Brown said dons pink socks, a pink mouthpiece and, underneath his pads, a pink shirt with “Pam Brown” — his mother’s name — written on the back. Since his mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2009, Brown said has consistently changed his uniform throughout October games not just to acknowledge breast cancer, but also to honor his mom, a major sports fan herself.
Brown said his family found out about his mother’s diagnosis the same day his parents dropped his brother off for his first year of college, so he said the condition came at a major time of transition for the family. He said living with his mother and father and having them help each other through it all is what made October personal.
“The chemotherapy was definitely a tough experience too, just because my mom is just a huge sports fan and has always been there for my games,” Brown said. “She’s very energetic, very outgoing, so it was very different — her personality changed during chemotherapy, and naturally, she got really tired. And just being around the house and seeing that transition was definitely a big thing.”
Brown said his dad works in the medical field and helped him a lot in understanding breast cancer and the difficulties that come with it and what research is being done in the field. He said in the end, raising breast cancer awareness is important, and it is encouraging to see the NFL and similar professional sports leagues bring it to the public’s attention.
Brown said he has shared his story with his teammates and now know why he takes October so seriously.
“You know if it affects someone close like a family member, you take it more to heart than you would any other person,” Brown said.
The Brown family is no stranger to dealing with breast cancer. Pam Brown said her family has had a history of breast cancer, including both her mother and her grandmother. She said the news first came as a shock, especially considering she checked with her doctor, who told her nothing was amiss shortly before she was diagnosed.
Because of her experience, Pam Brown realized it was important to listen to her body and get a second opinion. She said she’s doing a lot better now than she was at the outset and is proud of how her son has handled the entire process. She said he was in eighth grade when she found out the news, but she said he has stayed positive through every single stage.
“I used to be so energetic, but during the whole process I just totally went down to zero … He and my husband had to live with me through all of it,” Pam Brown said. Every stage I had to go through, from losing the hair to the weight loss — he never showed it bothered him and took it like a champ.”