Earlier this month, the Seahawks officially began the NFL’s annual Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer campaign in partnership with Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan, dedicating October to cancer awareness activities aimed at promoting early detection of the disease. Each year, all 32 NFL teams host a Crucial Catch game through which they raise awareness, as well as take time to honor local cancer patients and survivors.
Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Crucial Catch activities will look different this year as many NFL stadiums — including CenturyLink Field — are under guidelines that don't allow fans at games. So, the Seahawks found a creative new way to honor and celebrate cancer patients and survivors for their Crucial Catch game this Sunday.
Before Sunday night's game with the Minnesota Vikings kicks off, the Seahawks will host an exclusive pregame virtual viewing party for more than 30 cancer patients and survivors from CHI Franciscan, Virginia Mason, and the American Cancer Society. The Pregame Huddle powered by Microsoft Teams is the team's unique pregame experience that brings special guests onto the field for warmups and allows them to have interactions in real-time with Seahawks players and coaches using Microsoft Teams.
One of those 30 patients chosen for the viewing party is Salina Lyons. She has been a lifelong Seahawks fan and a season ticket holder since 2005. Lyons was diagnosed with vaginal cancer in March and soon after began undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments. For her, getting to watch the Seahawks on Sundays provides a real sense of relief during a time of extreme personal challenge which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic that's affecting the nation and the world.
"My sense of community has grown exponentially through cancer in a pandemic," Lyons said. "Cancer is a life-altering moment that can't help but drive perspective, transformation, and inner growth. During diagnosis and treatment, there is the desire to hold onto some familiarity and calm in the chaos."
Lyons' diagnosis came at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. But even when much of the state was shut down, she never hesitated or procrastinated in contacting her doctor when she figured something wasn't right.
"I am honored that Dr. Amy Brockmeyer chose me as one of her patients to participate in Crucial Catch," Lyons said. "I caught my cancer early because I listened to my inner voice and took action. The team at Virginia Mason moved fast. So fast, I didn't have time to really think about what was happening. It was 10 days between my biopsy to sitting in the chemo suites."
Early detection is one of the key points of the Crucial Catch initiative. It's something that very well could be a lifesaver not only for Lyons, but countless others as well.
Lyons says that watching this year's Seahawks team has been exciting. "This year it seems like I am learning about a whole new team," she said. "I have been following the Griffin Brothers. Their story and brotherhood inspire me. DK Metcalf is on my husband's fantasy team, so I've been following him more. My husband is an Arizona native and Cardinals fan so having one player we root for in our NFC West divided house is good for our marriage."
Lyons will be out of town Sunday when the Seahawks take on the Vikings, but she'll be attending the viewing party via Microsoft Teams. She'll be watching the game with friends and "enjoying a much-needed vacation," she said. "It dawned on me that I haven't had time off lately that wasn't related to my diagnosis and treatment.
"Any sense of normalcy and enjoying some routine is so valuable right now. Football Sunday and the Seahawks are providing that for me. Frankly, it might be what gets me through most of the Pacific Northwest winter."
The Seahawks, in partnership with Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan, provided flu shots to residents of the Gardner House & Allen Family Center in the lead up to the Seahawks' Crucial Catch game, Week 5 vs. the Minnesota Vikings.