Nine Browns players took time on their off-day to visit the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.
Station to station, the noise got louder.
With each stop Tuesday inside University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, the mood in the room got lighter and lighter. Nine Browns players and Chomps visited with patients who were either in their first, fifth or eighth hour of treatment on this particular afternoon. They dropped off a bag full of Browns memorabilia, which included a warm blanket for the blustery fall day, but the biggest impact came through the smiles and simple conversation.
"It's nice to have the support of the community," said Loretta Curran, a patient at the 375,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2011. "They're busy, they're practicing. It's nice to take the time out of their day to see us and support us."
Among the nine players was Pro Bowl cornerback Tramon Williams, who supports breast cancer awareness throughout the year through his personal foundation, 38 Reasons Foundation. Williams, who donates $1,000 to the American Cancer Society for every interception he makes and $500 for every pass defensed, lost his aunt to breast cancer. His wife, Shantrell, has seen her grandmother, mother and two aunts battle the disease.
"I've seen cancer firsthand with my family," Williams said. "I know what it's like coming and being able to brighten people's days. To me, it's definitely one of the reasons I had to come. It was a no-brainer.
"You come in and give them a little entertainment, a little hope, some smiles and it brightens their day. At the end of the day, that's what it's about. We play football, we do the whole nine, but that's not what it's really about. It's about coming out and giving people hope."
Williams was joined by the following teammates: DB Johnson Bademosi, WR Travis Benjamin, K Travis Coons, LB Christian Kirksey, FB Malcolm Johnson, DL John Hughes III, WR Taylor Gabriel and DB Ibraheim Campbell.
It's the second straight year Browns players have visited the center in October, which is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month.
"The patients are very much in tune to breast cancer awareness and the NFL pushing this is very big and very important," said Kathy Smith, a nurse manager at Seidman Cancer Center. "I know we get a lot of patients who come in for mammograms in the month of October. It just means a lot to the patients to know that somebody else cares for them."
This is the fifth year the Browns have partnered with the NFL for the Crucial Catch Campaign, which encourages women 40 years and over to have an annual mammogram. More than $8 million has been raised since the campaign's launch and a portion of the funds comes directly back to NFL markets to provide breast cancer education and free or low-cost screenings in underserved communities.
Consider the festivities of Sunday's game presented by University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center against the Broncos, which serves as the Browns' designated game for breast cancer awareness, a culmination of the everyday efforts that go into the Browns' commitment to breast cancer awareness.
Sunday's First and Ten Coin Toss Captain is a representative of University Hospitals who provides medical support for breast cancer patients. Zeta Tau Alpha volunteers will distribute 15,000 THINK PINK ribbons to fans. The American Cancer Society will have a major presence on Dawg Pound Drive outside of the stadium, where it will provide information about volunteering opportunities.
It's one big day during an important month for breast cancer awareness, which is an initiative that is close to the hearts of the Cleveland Browns 24-7, 365 days a year.
In 2015, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10.