The event, presented by Belk, started with pampering at Van Michael Salon in Atlanta, where the ladies were treated to a day of relaxation while getting their hair and makeup done.
They then moved on to dinner at Ray’s on the River, where the ladies arrived in a limousine and were greeted by cheers from the nearly two dozen Falcons players in attendance.
“We’re honoring you the way you should be honored,” said running back
The women honored included Chrissy Alonzo, who at 29 is a three-time cancer survivor, and Tammy Bolton, who was diagnosed at the age of 32 in 1997 and has since created The Pink Frog Foundation with her husband.
“This is absolutely amazing,” Alonzo said. “Thank you to the players and the organization because this is just incredible. Today was absolutely inspiring to meet so many amazing women who have shared this experience and I can’t thank you all enough.”
Another honoree was Shondia McFadden-Sabari, who has served as the Executive Director of Bold & Breastless, Inc., a non-profit organization, after being diagnosed with the disease at age 36. Annie Harris, who was nominated by her daughter, was diagnosed in 2008 and was already an advocate of breast cancer awareness after losing her mom to the disease in 1978.
Becky Smith was also among the women selected after her husband of 25 years, Jerry, nominated her. The spunky 50-year-old, who drives a hot pink motorcycle to raise awareness, made it her mission to encourage people to live fearlessly after being diagnosed with the disease five years ago.
"This is a ball. Imagine something bad happening to you and then through that, someone that you don't even know tells you they want to do something good for you. And they want you to have fun and enjoy the day and that’s it,” Smith said. “I came here this morning as a blonde, and I’m leaving as a red head. I came here humble, and I’m leaving humble.”
During the event, the ladies were escorted to the stage by players to receive gifts that included Falcons gear and a shopping spree at Belk, while the department store and the NFL Foundation will also give them $2,900 towards the foundation of their choice. The women will also be recognized on the field at the Oct. 7 game against the Jets.