Cody Edwards started a tradition wearing pink on his football uniform each October after getting the news more than five years ago that his grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
As a tribute to the person who helped raise him, the Columbus East senior’s tradition not only continues but has grown.
With pink the color closely identified with Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
n Edwards started wearing it on his school clothes.
n He taped pink tape on his book bag.
n He even pinned a pink “Fight!” banner on his bedroom wall.
“The cancer brought us closer,” he said about his grandmother, Beverlee Williams, a breast-cancer survivor highlighted in the Pink Purpose special section that’s part of today’s Republic.
“I was just shocked when I found out,” Edwards said. “I never knew anyone else who had breast cancer.”
Edwards’ uniform accessories in past years of pink socks, pink gloves, pink arm bands and a pink chin strap caught on with several East teammates, who also donned pink wardrobe accessories.
This year, all members of the East and North football squads will wear helmet decals starting tonight.
Bob Gaddis, Edwards’ coach, said the helmet decals will replace the other pink garb that Edwards and some other players had worn.
Edwards, who is 17 and wears jersey No. 57 on the field, said it hit him hard when his grandmother, who lived at the time in North Carolina, told him that she had breast cancer. He took a plane to visit around the time of her surgery and stayed for the next two weeks.
“Cody is part of the reason I’m here,” Williams said. “He’s the joy of my life and the man of my world.”
In her return tribute to him, she never misses an East football game.
“It sews up a hole in your heart when you see the players wearing that pink,” she said. “I just feel like he represents everyone in the world who has had to face breast cancer.”
Edwards tries to visit his grandparents every weekend for dinner now that they also live in Columbus.
In addition to the football-season tribute, Edwards is trying to arrange car washes as his senior project to raise money for the fight against breast cancer, estimated to affect one in eight U.S. women in their lifetime according to Breastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania.
The car washes would take part in different parts of Columbus and would operate only on donations.