Local survivor to hand off game ball to the Bengals

Local survivor to hand off game ball to the Bengals (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - People may have noticed that the National Football League has gone pink for the month of October.

The players were wearing pink gloves and pink shoes at home games in October to raise awareness for breast cancer. As part of that event survivors also get to take to the field.

For as long as she can remember, Carol Downing has been a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, “My parents have been season ticket holders since the Bengals started down at Nippert Stadium, so we had been raised with them as children. So we had been raised through the thick and the thin with them.”

In 2016 the team is sticking with her through thick and thin too.

A few months ago Carol said, “I took a shower in the morning and laid down to do an exam and found a lump in my breast.”

That lump turned out to be breast cancer and Carol found out she needed support from another team at the Mary Jo Cropper Family Center for Breast Care at Bethesda North Hospital. She had surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, herception treatments, and was headed for a second surgery soon.

So imagine her surprise when she got a call and was asked to deliver the game ball on the field at Paul Brown Stadium for the breast cancer awareness game.

Adrienne Ruehl, a nurse navigator, described what it was like to see the survivors on the field, “It's phenomenal, it's just wonderful these women are so strong, at their worst time they just rise up.”

Carol and five family members will be part of those who rise up. It will be a new start in a year where she can't wait to turn things around. Carol admitted that it had been a bit of a long journey but she was grateful that if she had to be in the exclusive club to have the opportunity to hand off the next part of the journey.

Carol has never been on the field and always wanted to be out there. The Bengals breast cancer game will take place October 23, against the Cleveland Browns.

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