More than two dozen Buccaneers players, along with members of the team's staff, shaved their heads, their beards and got haircuts on Wednesday to benefit pediatric cancer research.
Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the fight against childhood cancer through the Cut for a Cure to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. More than 40 Buccaneers players and staff members had their heads and facial hair shaved or colored orange - the official color of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation – by pediatric cancer patients and survivors to raise money and awareness to help eliminate childhood cancer. Among the participants were players Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Ali Marpet, Donavan Smith, Will Gholston, and Joe Hawley, as well as Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford.
"Today is a day that the staff and players look forward to every year," said Ford. "The opportunity to not only raise much-needed funds, but put a smile on the face of children and their families is just a small gesture and our way of supporting each family with all the hard work of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation."
Entering today, Buccaneers players and staff had raised nearly $40,000 towards this year's campaign – including the notable efforts of Deno Anagnost, the Buccaneers Director of Sales and a cancer survivor who had his head shaved and personally raised more than $20,000 this year, alone. His extraordinary efforts were complemented by Buccaneers Producer Kirsten Phillips, who challenged the players to raise the team's fundraising goal to $75,000. Inspired by the fight against pediatric cancer, Phillips committed to have her full head of hair cut if that goal was reached.
"When I got here today, I was so inspired by the families and the bright smiles on the children's faces." Phillips said. "I thought that I could make an impact with a challenge for the players and the organization to raise the bar even higher."
Hearing of this challenge, players were motivated to support the cause with additional charitable donations. "We are natural born competitors, and what is going on today is bigger than us" McCoy said, who is also the national spokesperson for Cut for a Cure. "We compete, and when we heard of the challenge, we accepted."
If you are around Tampa this evening, you can find Gerald McCoy with orange locks, Joe Hawley sporting a bright red beard, Ali Marpet with an orange feathered cut, and Jameis Winston rocking a red top and orange on the sides- all in support of a worthy cause.
"The number one challenge that children impacted by pediatric cancer face is the lack of funding that is being applied throughout our country towards pediatric cancer research." CEO of National Pediatric Foundation David Frazer, who was in attendance for the event, says. "Today's fundraiser will meet some of these challenges."
Since 2013, the team has now raised more than $185,000 through the Cut for a Cure.
To the children and families participating in today's activities, the Cut for a Cure event provides comfort and heartwarming community support at a time when it is needed the most.
Through community initiatives and events like this, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers demonstrate its far-reaching commitment to making Tampa Bay better today and for generations to come.