As a third year veteran I have had the privilege and honor to do amazing volunteer work with the Houston Texans, many of which have left me speechless and full of joy. Breast Cancer Awareness month has left me feeling empowered by the women who have that raw strength to fight every day. On September 9th of this year, I was once again left speechless and humbled by the Pink Boas and Bow Ties appearance. My HTC teammates and I surprised eight breast cancer survivors and in-treatment patients with gifts from the Houston Texans and Kroger. But instead, I felt like I had been given a gift. Denise Leisten was the survivor I had the honor to meet and shower with gifts. When I entered the building Denise was waiting for me, fabulously dressed with her boa and pink Texans jersey. Her smile brightened the room and her energy excited those around her. Since Denise found us early, I got to chat and get to know this amazing woman and what she does for the community of breast cancer survivors/patients. Denise actively reaches out and connects to women from all over the nation, even during COVID-19. Denise explained that beyond her job she actively finds ways to show that she cares for those around her, selflessly giving to remind people that she cares and is here to support them. As the Zoom meeting began, Denise and another breast cancer survivor shared their stories. I could see the affection and admiration Denise held within her eyes as the survivors shared their fight. At times she would lock eyes with me and then explain the pain the women were sharing, explaining how much strength they had just to wake up and take a pill they knew would be painful. When the appearance came to an end and it was time for me to leave, I felt the urge to stay longer and talk more. Denise explained the journey of breast cancer to me in a way I had never fully understood. The strength, perseverance, and hope that these women have left me feeling so inspired. These women are the definition of what it means to be a strong woman, one who overcomes and thrives. I am honored to wear pink during our Crucial Catch game on Sunday, October 4th in tribute to Denise and every woman who will continue to fight and never give up against their fight of breast cancer.
- HTC Ashley
Houston Texans Cheerleaders surprise breast cancer fighters and survivors with a special gift from the Texans.