Every October, the NFL and each of its 32 teams turns its attention toward raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research. For one family of die-hard Eagles fans, and breast cancer survivors, the month is an especially meaningful time.
After their aunt and mother were both diagnosed with breast cancer, the Brown sisters decided to undergo preliminary testing to find out if they were at a greater risk to develop the disease. It was then, in 2002, that they discovered that five of the nine women in their family carried the BRCA1 gene, a mutation that increases one's odds of developing early onset breast cancer to 87 percent.
Because they were tested early, the sisters were able to take the necessary steps to prevent the disease from developing, something that still holds true 13 years later.
Now, they're helping lead the charge for awareness and for the importance early screenings by taking part in a three-day, 60-mile walk in Philadelphia each year through Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Their efforts alone have helped raise over $60,000 for the foundation since they got involved in 2008.
"It's a great three-day experience," said Pamela Brown of the walk. "The passion that the city has, you cannot walk down a single street on this three-day walk without people coming out of their house to cheer for you."
The winding route through the city ends each year in the Navy Yard on the far south end of Philadelphia, just past Lincoln Financial Field. For the sisters, the stadium's imposing silhouette serves as motivation for the final mile of their journey.
"As we're walking towards the Navy Yard, we pass the Linc," said Jackie Brown. "It just reminds me of needing to walk one more mile, and put one more mile in."
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