Cowboys Memories: My Favorite Team Captain Used Breast Cancer Awareness Month to Turn the Pyramids of Egypt Pink!

by | Oct 12, 2017 | Articles, Life & Style, The League, The Team

Please share this story with anyone whose family has been touched by breast cancer, anyone who wears a pink ribbon, or anyone who loves the Dallas Cowboys. This is one of my favorite stories from 27 seasons with the team. It’s also a story about how one person can make an impact by inspiring and empowering others. If you think one person can’t make a difference, think again. Thank you for taking time to read this and thanks, in advance, for sharing it with others!  

— Kristi Scales

James D Smith via AP

In two decades as sideline reporter for the Cowboys, it’s been a privilege to interview accomplished, well-known people who have served as honorary team captains during the pregame coin toss. Let’s see, everyone from former U.S. Presidents (George Bush, both of ‘em), to visiting foreign dignitaries, to Super Bowl MVPs (e.g. Roger Staubach), to Hall of Fame players. There are some very impressive people on the list. But none were so powerful as to turn one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World pink. Specifically, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. That’s right, someone whose idea turned a pyramid PINK.

As in ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ pink.

The honorary captain was Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the foundation that brought “pink ribbons” into the national consciousness. It’s the group that has raised billions of dollars globally for breast cancer education, research, advocacy, health services and social support in more than 50 countries.

Nancy was standing on the Cowboys’ sideline before the game in which she would serve as honorary captain in October, 2011.  I was anxious to interview her. During our visit, she mentioned that she had just returned from Cairo, Egypt where the foundation held its first ‘Race for the Cure’ on the African continent. Nancy was very moved by the response in Egypt because, on the night of the event, the Egyptian authorities lit the pyramids in pink lights.

That’s right, there are lights on the Great Pyramid and other pyramids at night so that tourists can see them and take pictures. But on this special night, in honor of the fight against breast cancer, THE PYRAMIDS WERE PINK!!!

It is one of the all-time coolest things I’ve ever heard. You could have knocked me over at that moment. Of the very famous, powerful people that have been special guests at Cowboys games, I’ve never met anyone who HAD THE POWER AND THE PURPOSE to turn one of the Seven Wonders of the World PINK!!!!!

“Illuminating the Great Pyramids of Giza sends a clear message to the world that breast cancer knows no boundaries, and that by working together, we can make great strides against the disease,” said Nancy.

Pink ribbons are omnipresent nowadays, and rough-tough NFL players don’t hesitate to wear pink to support the fight against breast cancer. It’s amazing how our nation’s attitude has changed in just a generation.

Not too long ago, breast cancer and other women’s health issues were taboo subjects. ‘These things weren’t discussed’, is a polite way to put it. That’s all changed, thanks in part to the foundation.

It all started because Nancy made a vow in 1980 to her sister, Susan G. Komen, the foundation’s namesake. Susan was only 36 years old when she lost her fight with breast cancer. Nancy promised Susan that she would do everything in her power to eradicate the disease. Nancy has long been a powerful, prominent person here in Dallas. She’s also served as a U.S. Ambassador to Hungary as well as the Chief Protocol Officer of the White House. She is a mover and shaker. Her late husband, Norman Brinker, was a prominent restauranteur (Brinker International, i.e. Chili’s Restaurants, Maggiano’s, Macaroni Grill, to name a few). So Nancy had political and business connections. And now she had a cause….in honor of her sister, Susan.

She didn’t do it alone, of course. Every single one of us who has worn a pink ribbon or participated in a Race for the Cure or helped at a Komen event is part of the team. We all should feel like we’ve had a small part in turning the pyramids pink. You don’t have to be a former U.S. Ambassador or someone who worked in The White House to make a difference. If we do our own small part, if we join together for a common purpose, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

There are millions of people who have dedicated resources to the cause. Those resources include charitable donations of money or volunteer hours. It includes so many bright minds in medical research who’ve dedicated their lives to finding a cure. It includes families willing to do whatever it takes to support their loved one.

Do we have a long way to go? You bet. But nobody has to feel they have to walk the road alone.

Roger Steinman via AP

It’s a collective challenge, one that CAN AND WILL be overcome because, when you have the power and conviction of an entire movement, we can move mountains. Or at least turn the Great Pyramids PINK!!!!

*Note: written in honor of breast cancer survivors everywhere including my mother-in-law Barbara Sutton, Aunt Connie, Cheryl Dorris, and dear friends like Tricia Cavarra and Jenny Esquivel and Karen Gonzales…as well as my late cousins who fought the good fight, Janet Rodefeld and Barbara Carter, who are greatly missed yet fondly remembered.

**If there is a special person you would like to mention, please list their name(s) in our ‘comments’ so that we can share their name, too.