For sophomore defensive back Jordan Brown, Breast Cancer Awareness Month stands for something more than wearing pink on gameday. Brown’s mother, Pam Brown, was diagnosed with breast cancer during 2009. From that moment on, Jordan Brown said he has gained a new perspective and has a new appreciation for the month of October.
Q: Tell me about your mom’s personality.
A: She is very enthusiastic and outgoing. She likes for her opinion to be heard and she’s a huge sports fanatic.
Q: How did you learn about her diagnosis?
A: It was actually weird timing when we found out she had cancer. I was just starting high school and my brother was leaving for college. Her test results came back the day we were dropping off my brother at Benedictine [College]. When we got back to the house, my mom and dad sat me down and said “We have some news for you. We found out about your mom, and she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and everything is going to be alright.” That’s all that they told me, I [was] really curious for a long time about what was really happening.
Q: What was your reaction to the diagnosis?
A: It scared me because my grandma died from breast cancer, and my aunt died from breast cancer. It runs in the family. My mom had stage two breast cancer, and what made it worse is that the cancer spread into her lymph nodes. We were all really cautious about the situation. It was weird seeing her go through [the] chemotherapy stage — we would have visitors in and out of the house every day and I saw her change from being so outgoing, to so quiet. I have always appreciated her, but when that happened, I felt like I didn’t appreciate her enough.
Q: What do you think your mother’s fight with cancer shows about her character?
A: It shows how strong of a woman she actually is. I know her fight was a lot harder than anything that I’m going through, so it gives me a boost of motivation to have such a strong mom. I know that’s where I get my strong-mindedness.
Q: How have you used her story as motivation?
A: I use that as motivation for myself whenever I’m in practice or doing something really difficult. A lot of people tell me I’m very good at accepting criticism and I’m very good at being straightforward with things. I get that from her — knowing how strong-minded she is.
Q: How does your mom inspire others?
A: I know a lot of friends I grew up playing football with have moms with breast cancer. It’s good to see my mom being able to talk to people and give people encouragement. She does the breast cancer walk every year too. Seeing how much of an impact she [has] on others — seeing how many lives she is reaching — while fighting her own fight, it’s very heartwarming.
Q: What does the month of October mean to you?
A: Before my mom had breast cancer, I always knew it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I never took it as seriously as I should have. I knew during October, that’s when all the football teams wore pink — a lot of people wear pink just to look good.
After my mom fought breast cancer, I definitely took it a lot more seriously. I want everyone to realize that we wear pink for a reason. My junior year of high school we all wore pink, and my coach asked me to speak to the team about why we were doing it. I wanted to let them know it’s a serious fi ght, and [breast] cancer is a very serious thing that women go through. We’re not just wearing pink for the hell of it — there’s a meaning behind it.
Q: How has your mom influenced you off the field?
A: She taught me that in everything, there’s going to be adversity. In everything you do in life, you have to give your all and never give up. I know that regardless of what you’re going through, no matter how hard the fight may be, you should always do your best and fight for it.