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Buc covers cancer for kids

Louis Murphy's mother never got the chance to see him play professional football.

Filomena Murphy lost her three-year battle with metastatic breast cancer one year before her son was drafted in 2009 by the Oakland Raiders.

Now a wide receiver with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Murphy said he feels his mother is with him wherever he goes, including the football field.

"I work hard to not let her down," he said. "I know she's looking down on me."

On Tuesday, Murphy took his mother's story to the Moffitt McKinley Outpatient Center and shared it with members of the Junior Buccaneers football league as part of the hospital's Healthy Kidz Go Pink program.

The second-leading cause of cancer death among women (and about 2,600 new cases annually diagnosed in men), breast cancer can be a complex and confusing disease for children to understand.

The program's goal is to remove the mystery surrounding breast cancer and arm children with facts and information, said B. Lee Green, Moffitt's vice president of diversity, public relations and strategic communications.

It also can introduce them to careers in medicine and lead them to consider becoming cancer doctors or researchers, Green said.

"Maybe some of these kids will think, 'Maybe there's something I can do,' " he said.

Although they are young, children can do things to help if a parent or relative is fighting breast cancer, including comforting them and encouraging them, Murphy said.

After watching his mother put up a vigilant fight against such a terrible disease, Murphy said he promised her that he would give back to the community and help others.

He has made good on that promise by forming First Down 4 Life, his nonprofit that sponsors football and cheerleading camps for local youth and that teaches participants skills like teamwork and goal setting.

Murphy also speaks to students about the importance of helping others and leadership, two topics he also addressed with the Junior Buccaneers.

He urged them to think about their futures and to work hard to make their dreams come true.

And don't forget to give back, Murphy said.

"Who are you going to help?" he said. "What are you going to do to be a positive impact on someone?"

James Rice, 9, said Murphy's words and the visit to Moffitt confirmed his desire to be a doctor.

"I've wanted to be a doctor since I was little," he said. "I want to help people."

Buc covers cancer for kids 10/05/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 1:40pm]
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