Press Releases

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Teams with Professional Sports Leaders to Present Cancer, COVID & Black America
Aug 28, 2020
The streaming event is co-hosted by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas) and NFL reporter Kirsten Watson

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Cancer Society and U.S. Representative Colin Allred, in partnership with Professional Football Players Mothers Association (PFPMA), New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, and leaders from the sports world will host an informal discussion on cancer in Black America, and how health disparities are negatively impacted by COVID-19. The event is part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

Studies from the American Cancer Society show that Black people have the highest death rate and the lowest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group for most cancers. Research also shows patients in active treatment are more than five times more likely to die if they contract coronavirus, and patients  with cancer that has stabilized are still twice as likely to die if they contract COVID-19.

“It is essential for Black Americans to understand the connection between the coronavirus and long-standing health disparities,” said Keysha Brooks-Coley, ACS CAN vice president of federal advocacy.   “The inadequate access to high-quality affordable health care coverage and treatment among communities of color is linked to the disproportionate burden these communities bear in coronavirus cases and with cancer.”

ACS CAN is working to ensure equitable access to quality cancer care through numerous policies, including maintaining key protections in the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid coverage and improving access to cancer clinical trials for communities of color through the Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act.

Co-hosted by Congressman Colin Allred and NFL reporter Kirsten Watson, this hour long streaming event will bring important health information as well as personal stories of cancer survival from women who have battled the disease. The event will also spotlight how cancer affects entire families as professional athletes share their experiences loving, supporting and caring for their mothers through a cancer diagnosis.

“My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I know first-hand how a cancer diagnosis does not discriminate and affects the entire family,” said Congressman Colin Allred (D-Texas). “It is important that Black Americans are aware of the risks associated with cancer and know how early cancer detection can lead to more effective treatments. I am fighting in Congress to improve access to care and lower costs across the board. I thank the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Professional Football Players Mothers Association for joining us to host this important discussion.”

Guest Speakers Include:

Jacquelyn Dunmore Griffith, M.D.: Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Howard University College of Medicine and Physician with Associates in Radiation Medicine at Doctors Regional Cancer Center in Lanham, MD.

New Orleans Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins and his mother, Gwendolyn Jenkins: Gwen, a breast cancer survivor credits early detection for saving her life.

Detroit Lions’ Christian Jones and his mother, Tarralyn Jones: Tarralyn, is a two-time breast cancer survivor who battled cancer while raising young children.

Retired NFL star Calvin Johnson and his mother, Dr. Arica Johnson: Arica, a pancreatic cancer survivor, wants to bring attention to the fourth-deadliest cancer.

Kansas City Chief player Damien Williams: Damien has opted out of this year’s NFL season to become a caregiver and support his mother who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

NBA Sacramento King player De’Aaron Fox and his mother Lorraine Fox: Lorraine is a breast cancer survivor who found a lump in her own breast while caring for her sister who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Registration and Event Details:

*All are invited to participate in this streaming event. Please register to attend at on or before August 31.  

*Registration closes at end of day on Monday, August 31.