Browns, BWO visit Hope Lodge

Posted Oct 3, 2012

CLEVELAND -- In recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cleveland Browns visited Hope Lodge in Cleveland to brighten the day of those battling the disease.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns and Browns Women’s Organization kicked off their support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a visit to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge on Tuesday afternoon.

Led by Jennifer Shurmur, the wife of Browns coach Pat Shurmur, 15 members of the Browns Women’s Organization joined with six players -- defensive lineman Frostee Rucker, offensive lineman Oniel Cousins, linebacker James-Michael Johnson, tight end Jordan Cameron, fullback Owen Marecic and defensive back Usama Young -- for the Hope Lodge visit.

“It gives us an opportunity to connect with the community and we’re delighted to see some smiles on the faces of the residents here,” Shurmur said. “It’s important for us to unite as many people as we can in the fight against breast cancer. Unfortunately, it’s still a problem, so, as many people as we can get to fight the issue, the better.”

During the afternoon visit, the players and BWO members visited with breast cancer patients, decorated football-themed cookies in the kitchen, played bingo and created art for the doors of the formal living room.

In the month of October, the NFL will showcase its partnership with the American Cancer Society to promote its “A Crucial Catch” campaign. The campaign stresses the importance of annual breast cancer screenings and mammograms, especially for those women 40 years of age or older.

“It’s a way for them to take some time off from their daily challenges,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “This is really a difficult time for them, battling every, single day, so, if we can take a couple of hours to come out, let them forget about their next treatment or appointment and let them have a good time and put some smiles on their faces, it’s well worth it.”

Shurmur was joined on the visit by 14 other members of the BWO, including Annie Thomas, Rachel McCoy, Brenda Whipple, Mary Cromwell, Kia Sandusky, Kristen Spytek, Mariann Cousins, Sarah Williams, Mary Wiedmeier, Dru-Ann Childress, Arin Hodges, Katie Ventrone, Gia Young and Dee Haslam.

The Browns’ mascot, Chomps, also paid a visit to the Hope Lodge.

“It just shows me the caring that we have with the Browns Women’s Organization, the caring that the players have and how they are connected to the community, how they’re connected to Cleveland and how much they want to support the fans and support the more troubled fans that are here in Cleveland and give them a lift as they give us a lift on Sundays,” Shurmur said.

The Hope Lodge is a free-of-charge residence for cancer patients and their families while they are in the Cleveland area for treatments. The Lodge is funded by the American Cancer Society and all of the Cleveland-area cancer centers have patients at the facility.

“It’s terrific to have this partnership with the Browns,” said Frank McGrady, executive vice president for the American Cancer Society. “To come out and help them raise awareness for breast cancer and to help make a difference here in our Lodge, with some of our residents who are here for treatment, it’s just a huge lift for them. Hopefully, the general community, the community at large and the NFL around the country will get a chance to see the Cleveland Browns shining here and really making a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

“Because of the health care that’s available in this community, people come from all over the country and all over the world for treatment. We’ve had residents from the four corners of the world that have come here and stayed at the Lodge.”

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