Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. File photo courtesy of the Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers will help promote the importance of early detection and risk reduction efforts for all cancers at Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos as part of the NFL’s  “Crucial Catch:  Intercept Cancer” campaign.

While the league has expanded its efforts of the past eight season to increase breast cancer awareness to all cancers, the Chargers will continue to focus on breast cancer awareness as Susie Spanos, the wife of Chargers Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos, is a breast cancer survivor.

Throughout the game, the Chargers will pay tribute to breast cancer survivors on the field and in the stands. Fans will see splashes of pink throughout StubHub Center. All fans in attendance will receive pink “brandanas,” which can be used as headbands, neck scarves or rally towels.

Members of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity of women will pass out pink ribbons and be presented a check for $5,000 from Susie Spanos in the second quarter. Fans will be asked to stand during a break in the second quarter and display the pink card provided to them with the name of a loved one who has battled cancer written upon it.

Specialty pink merchandise and concession items will be available for purchase, including pink Bud Light beer at the Bud Light trailer in the StubHub Center plaza and pink popcorn and cotton candy and frozen lemonade throughout the stadium.

The national anthem will be sung by breast cancer survivor Tarsha Rogers, who will be surrounded by breast cancer survivors, while ZTA members hold large pink stars and ribbons. At halftime, dance teams from UCLA, USC, UC- Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, Fullerton College, Laguna Beach High School and Touche Dance will join Charger Girls and cancer survivors on the field to perform a musical tribute to the fight against cancer.

An addition this year to the NFL’s fight against cancer is the Crucial Catch Challenge, where fans can make a pledge based on on-field statistics in games played from Weeks 5 through 7.

The Chargers involved include defensive end Joey Bosa, with a pledge of $67 per quarterback sack; running back Melvin Gordon, with a pledge of $103 per rushing touchdown; punter Drew Kaser, with a pledge of $27 for each punt inside the 20-yard line; and kicker Nick Novak, with a pledge of $40 per field goal.

Each NFL team has designated a home game in Weeks 5 through 7 as their “Crucial Catch:  Intercept Cancer” game. This is the Chargers lone home game during that span.

In “Crucial Catch:  Intercept Cancer” games players are allowed to wear cleats, shoelaces and wristbands in any color representing the type of cancer awareness they support or have been impacted by.

“Crucial Catch:  Intercept Cancer” games are played with game balls with the Crucial Catch logo.

Multi-colored equipment for players include helmet decals, captains’ patches and quarterback towels. There will be multi-colored ribbon pins for coaches and teams. Game officials will wear multi-colored caps and pins.

There will be multi-colored goal post padding in the end zones, multi- colored ribbon stencils on the field and Crucial Catch wall banners.

Game-worn Crucial Catch merchandise and footballs will be autographed and auctioned at NFL Auction,

The NFL does not profit from the sale or auction of Crucial Catch merchandise, a league official said.

Charitable contributions are donated to the American Cancer Society to support its Community Heath Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity program, which provides outreach and cancer screenings to individuals in underserved communities.

A health care center in each NFL market will receive a $50,000 CHANGE grant to increase access to screenings and additional cancer prevention and early detection programs.

The Chargers CHANGE grant was used to fund breast and colorectal cancer screenings at Priority Care Medical Group in Long Beach.

–City News Service

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