The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation on Monday hosted the eighth annual All-Star Survivors Celebration for 31 women currently battling breast cancer. Kellee Southern was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 45thbirthday; since that time, she has gone through six rounds of chemotherapy and underwent a bilateral mastectomy.
Local women currently battling breast cancer were treated to an afternoon of pampering as they took part in makeup consultations, wig fittings, jeans fittings, massages and tours of Redskins Park on Monday, October 5, 2015.
Southern, who likened the fight against breast cancer to "being put into a boxing ring," was one of 31 women battling the disease who came out to Redskins Park on Monday for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation's eighth annual All-Star Survivors Celebration.
She said throughout their battles, each and every woman at Monday's event has continued to "put up our dukes."
"It's a sisterhood that you don't want to be part of, but it's a sisterhood in which we only understand each other the way that we do, and you automatically connect with each other," said Southern, a Silver Spring, Md., resident. "It's just like an automatic connection. As soon as we're in the room with each other, we go to each other and start talking, sharing stories, our similarities, our differences; and it's just a connection that really in my 47 years on Earth, I've never really had a connection like that with ladies, and it's all been due to the unfortunate event of having breast cancer, but it's just awesome."
The 31 women, who were also honored at Sunday's annual Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness Game, were joined on Monday by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy, running back Alfred Morris, fullback Darrel Young, guard/tackle Brandon Scherff, linebackers Houston Bates, Will Compton, Adam Hayward and Keenan Robinson and safety Kyshoen Jarrett.
Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder and a breast cancer survivor herself, said the event was held on behalf of the players, like former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, whose passion for his mother's fight against breast cancer was the inspiration for the inaugural All-Star Survivors Celebration eight years ago.
"We wouldn't have [it] without our players," Snyder said in an interview with Morris and Bates. "Our players make all the difference, and I thank you guys so much being here today – and they're changing lives. None of us will ever forget today."
The survivors were divided into different groups that rotated between trying on wigs, fitting for Gap Jeans, receiving massages, getting makeovers and touring the team's headquarters.
While each and every one of the ladies are currently embarking in a difficult journey both physically and mentally, you would have never known so by their smiles and interactions.
Southern, for example, watched with interest as Morris and Bates tried on different wigs.
The running back settled on a whitish-colored wig, which Snyder remarked is becoming trendy these days, while Bates went with a reddish-colored one, which one of the ladies said looked more like his natural hair color.
Young said doing something as simple as wearing a wig is all about being supportive for those going through a tough time in their lives.
"One lady was kind of embarrassed to put a wig on, she said, 'I've always had long hair, I've never had to worry about this stuff,'" Young recalled. "And I said, 'You know what, I have short hair, I'm a man, who cares.' I put the wig on, dolled up a little bit, let them do what they wanted, and then she was happy. She was comfortable enough to do it because we did it. That's the impact that you want to have on people. So at the end of the day, it's about a legacy that you leave. No event is more important than the other, but it's who you impact throughout those events."
After a few rounds of dancing that included "The Wobble" and "The Cupid Shuffle," the 31 survivors and the Redskins contingent including Snyder and the WOW Wives and players huddled together for a group photo.
And there was a little surprise to wrap up the afternoon: baskets full of goodies provided by the IIIB's Foundation. "We want to thank the Foundation and the Snyders for all they allow us to do, being able to host you, the players, the wives, all the volunteers and everything that we're able to do," said Sherri Henning, the Executive Vice President, South-Atlantic Division, of the American Cancer Society. "Thank you for being here today."