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Notes: Calvin Johnson shares mother’s cancer fight to encourage others to get screened

“Early detection gave my mother a chance.”

Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions Set Number: X157301 TK1 R4 F168

Furthering his service to the community, Detroit Lions Hall-of-Fame receiver Calvin Johnson is sharing his mother’s cancer story in hopes of encouraging others to get checked out.

The NFL’s Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer campaign has returned for the 13th season this month. Working together with the American Cancer Society, the league’s initiative promotes early screening and risk reduction to fight cancer.

From Week 4 to Week 6, the clubs participate in a wide range of elements to support the cause, including allowing players to wear cleats to represent cancer awareness they support.

Megatron is one of many NFL athletes sharing their personal connection to the cause. After a snowy 2013 game in Philadelphia, Johnson said his mother slipped on a block of ice on the way to the airport. While examining that injury, he said doctors found abnormal cells. It was pancreatic cancer.

“That’s pretty much a death sentence when you hear that. Fortunately, we were in a position where she found it early — early detection gave my mother a chance,” Johnson said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly detrimental to routine cancer screenings. Now that they’ve resumed, doctors are diagnosing patients at later stages of cancer, per the NFL.

“Sometimes it can be difficult for people in black or brown communities to have access to cancer screenings just because the education isn’t there,” Johnson said. “People don’t know where to go, don’t know where to start, and that’s really on the people that do have the opportunity, the education, the access to help those that don’t.”

Watch Johnson’s comments in full here. For more information, call the national cancer information helpline at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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