Like many Americans, my family is all too familiar with cancer. I lost my mother to cancer when I was only a sophomore in college. She was my coach, my captain, my biggest fan, and above all, my hero, so I know first-hand how important it is for people touched by cancer to have a strong support system.
Life’s changed a lot the past few years as my career has progressed, and I think she’d be proud and excited to see how I’ve grown into the man I am today. For every game and with every win, I know my mom is there with me. One thing she said to me that has stayed with me was, “let me be your story; all greats have a story.” It’s now up to me to let her live through me. She’s my inspiration.
I often type notes to her on my phone, kind of like a diary – it’s a way for me to talk to her, and I like to believe that she’s able to read them, even though she can’t type back. Helping her memory live on is the reason why I joined the Ready. Raise. Rise. campaign, which is raising awareness of an advancement in cancer research called Immuno-Oncology (I-O) and providing a meaningful platform for people to participate in the fight against cancer.
Together with Eric Stonetreet, Tia Mowry and Bristol-Myers Squibb, we’re asking Americans to help us support loved ones with cancer and spread the word about I-O research, which seeks to harness the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. The ultimate goal of this innovative area of research is to help people with various forms of cancer live longer and with a better quality of life.
Like many people, I had a very personal interest in learning more about advancements in cancer research, such as I-O. While it wasn’t an option for my mother, it’s important for anyone fighting cancer to know all of the possibilities available.
In many ways, my story is similar to millions of other Americans fighting back against a devastating disease. I empathize with others around the country searching for more information about advancements in cancer research and the critical need for emotional and community support.
Through the recently announced Ready. Raise. Rise. challenge, people can show support for someone they know touched by cancer at www.ReadyRaiseRise.com. Actions they take on the site – such as raising a flag to honor a loved one, like I did for my mom – can earn points for their choice of 30 participating cancer advocacy groups.
For every point earned by July 31, Bristol-Myers Squibb will donate $1 up to a total of $150,000 split equally among participating groups. My hope is that all Americans will join me and the Ready. Raise. Rise. team to honor someone they love who’s been affected by cancer and support cancer research and advocacy programs.
My mom will always be with me, and I know that raising awareness of advances in cancer research and helping people support each other in their fights will help keep her memory alive.
On the field, I’m playing for my mom, and that’s who I raise my flag to honor. Who do you raise your flag for? Join us at www.ReadyRaiseRise.com and show your support for the fight against cancer.
Dak Prescott is the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, named 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the recipient of the 2017 ESPY Breakthrough Athlete of the Year award. He is also an advocate for cancer research and a spokesperson for the Ready. Raise. Rise. campaign.