10.12.2013 / Blog Posts Breast Cancer Awareness Community
During the month of October -- in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” initiative -- we are delighted to introduce a blog series spotlighting breast cancer survivors on WOWRedskins.com. This Breast Cancer Survivor Spotlight Series will share the inspiring stories of these extraordinary women and special WOW members with the Redskins community while continuing to raise breast cancer awareness and educate women about the importance of annual screenings.
Our first special WOW survivor spotlight features Claudette Davis, 58, a real estate professional from Temple Hills, Maryland and mother of two whose favorite Redskins player is London Fletcher. Davis was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2011 and received her “all-clear” in May 2012.
Claudette Davis (left) pictured with Mrs. Tanya Snyder and a friend
How long have you been a Redskins fan?
Claudette Davis: I am an avid NFL fan; it’s my all-time favorite sport. I have been a Redskins fan since 1989. I moved here in 1987 and had a good friend who was the world’s biggest Redskins fan and she kept saying to me, “Oh you have to go to Redskins games” and in her opinion it was a no-brainer. We now have season tickets. We attend all the games. We attend the WOW party and always look forward to the season.
What is your favorite Redskins memory?
Claudette Davis: The excitement of the fans. In our seating area we’ve become like a little family. There are two couples who sit near us and we always look for each other and the camaraderie. What’s interesting is none of us know each other’s names but we’re this little family.
What is your game day ritual or superstition?
Claudette Davis: One of the things I do is three days before the game I’ll actually lay my outfit out. I have a pink jersey of course, a pink hat. I make sure I have my outfit ready. I know what shoes I’m going to wear. I have my bag ready and I have a clear bag now.
Who was your support system?
Claudette Davis: My two daughters just took control of my life. When we left the doctor’s office and he confirmed that I did in fact have breast cancer, [my daughters] were sitting in the front [of the car] and I was in the backseat. My youngest daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, we love you. I can’t imagine some of the things you’re going through right now. You have 24 hours to have a pity party. Only 24 hours and after that we are going to lay out a gameplan and we’re going to follow that plan. Is that ok?” And I said, “Yes, that’s ok.”
They had me give up my condo and move in with my oldest daughter who is single so that I wouldn’t have be alone as I was going through the process and figuring out what was going on. Because when I was diagnosed, I didn’t have any health insurance. We had to figure that out and moved me in with my oldest daughter and they just took care of me. They both came to chemo, they would take time from their jobs, bring their laptops and sit with me through those five hour sessions and made sure I ate and I was comfortable. They were just there for me like you just could not believe.
Looking back, what do you wish you knew before beginning treatment?
Claudette Davis: I wish I knew the importance of self-examination. I did the annual mammograms because I knew those were super-important but what I did not know that in addition to that I needed to do self-exams.
What have you learned about yourself from your experience?
Claudette Davis: That I am stronger than I would have imagined. When they confirmed that I had breast cancer, I didn’t become emotional, I didn’t panic, I was not afraid. If anyone had asked me prior to that, I would have thought I would have been all those things. But I was none of those things. So I actually surprised myself.
How did the Redskins and the Redskins fan community impact your journey?
Claudette Davis: When I learned that Mrs. Snyder is responsible for the NFL’s acknowledgement of breast cancer, that was monumental to me. I went to a few games during treatment and I am always inspired by the love and support -- strangers automatically become your friends when they find out you are a breast cancer survivor. And the efforts the NFL puts forth -- to see the guys with the pink shoes -- they actively acknowledge it. Twenty years ago I didn’t know anyone with any kind of cancer and now I can probably rattle off names for 30 minutes. It’s incredible.
What's one thing you want to share with other members?
Claudette Davis: Thank you thank you thank you. I look forward to the WOW pre-game party as much as I look forward to the game!
Amanda Rykoff is a New York City-based sports writer. She’s a proud Penn alum, recovering attorney, devoted aunt, and voracious consumer of media. She has contributed to espnW.com, The Outside Corner, ONE World Sports, Sports On Earth, The Football Girl and other media outlets. Follow her on Twitter (@amandarykoff).
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