As encouraging as Sunday’s 38-10 win over Kansas City was, the Bucs have now moved on completely to the incoming New Orleans Saints. Similarly, last week’s dual themes of Breast Cancer Awareness and the Ring of Honor have given away to this week’s focus, the Throwback Game.
Before we turn the page completely, however, there is one more story from Sunday’s uplifting day at Raymond James Stadium that is worth sharing. It actually took place just before the Bucs and Chiefs began to do battle.
Before kickoff, the Buccaneers named Debbie Morey their honorary captain in recognition of her inspirational fight against Stage IV breast cancer. She was invited to take the field with the Buccaneers’ captains to conduct the coin toss before the start of the game.
Last month, the Buccaneers asked Bay area residents to share stories about individuals who are currently battling or have survived breast cancer. Submissions were reviewed, and one was selected by a panel of leading oncologists and Tampa Bay Buccaneers representatives to participate in a memorable gameday experience.
To call Morey’s story “inspirational” would be an understatement. As she continues to undergo experimental treatments for her own disease, she and her husband care for a daughter battling leukemia and a son with special needs, while their eldest son serves abroad in the Navy.
Morey was joined at the game on Sunday by her husband Jim, her daughter Riley and her son Zack, as well as her surgeon, Shalin Shah, and friends Nikole and Keith Whitehead. Keith Whitehead was easy to pick out in a crowd, as he wore a pink bra he wore over his shirt. “Anything for a good cause,” he said.
Nikole Whitehead was grateful for the extensive lengths to which the team went to make the day special for her courageous friend. “They love sports, and to get them all as a family at a game, and a day where you are not thinking about the negatives of cancer, it was awesome that the Buccaneers did this,” she said.