The Jaguars Women's Association, made up of women in the team's administration and wives of coaches, raised over $22,000 for a local non-profit organization on Thursday night with the NFL 101: Workshop for Women event inside the West Touchdown Club at EverBank Field.
The Association honored In the Pink: A Boutique for Women Living with Cancer, raising money for the non-profit organization through event ticket sales, a silent auction and donations. Over 200 attended the event.
"I'm honored that the Jaguars have gone to the trouble they have, to go out of their way to make us feel special and to make everyone in Jacksonville aware of what we do, which is our ultimate mission," said Jeri Millard, a two-time cancer survivor that operates In the Pink.
With two locations, in Jacksonville Beach and San Marco, In the Pink provides products and services to people battling breast cancer, including prostheses, post-mastectomy products, clothing, hair-care, yoga classes and counseling.
Millard said her experiences in the aftermath of her two cancer diagnoses sparked the idea for her to do something to help others.
"When I was going through it, I thought, 'I don't even feel good, and now I have to run over here to do this, over here to do that and over there to do that – why can't we do that all under one roof?'" Millard said.
"We provide not just the items that someone needs, but if you have insurance, we file it for you. Any revenue generated, the money stays at In the Pink. Women that come in that don't have medical care or insurance, and there are a lot of those people, and people who have a Medicaid card or a Shands card, then they get the very same items for free."
In the Pink is financed mostly through fundraising and donations.
"There is no reason why a woman who has cancer should have to go through that battle alone," Millard added. "There is no reason why she should not be able to do that with the same dignity that a woman with the money to go through that gets. Our mission is to make sure that happens for everyone."
With October as breast cancer awareness month, Joelle Caldwell, wife of Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, said that the Jaguars Women's Association wanted to combine awareness with football.
"We knew we wanted to do something with Football 101 and the foundation and then for the breast cancer awareness month," Caldwell said. "This is for awareness, and for the women fans to come out and learn about football and be a part of the Jaguars organization."
Michaela Bradley, wife of Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, said another goal was to assist an organization based in the city.
"Our purpose is to honor a recipient locally in Jacksonville," Bradley said. "Jeri Millard has had a vision and a drive of purpose based off of her own personal experience.
"I think it's absolutely amazing."
As for the event itself, Bradley said the combination of football with awareness was easy.
"We've got a lot of women that just want to learn about football, and they also know that there is a great cause that goes behind it."
Curtis Dvorak, known as the Jaguars' mascot Jaxson de Ville, and CBS 47/FOX 30 Action News anchor Tera Barz emceed the event.
The evening included a review of football rules and concepts. Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch, tight end Marcedes Lewis and running back/wide receiver Denard Robinson answered questions from the crowd.
In the defensive session, defensive coordinator Bob Babich and defensive line coach Todd Wash made presentations. Quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo and offensive quality control coach Tony Sorrentino led the offensive session. Jaguars long snapper Carson Tinker and punter Bryan Anger spoke during the special teams session.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley addressed the crowd as well.
For Millard and In the Pink, partnering with the Jaguars assisted in awareness of the services they provide.
"When I was first approached by Michaela, I couldn't even believe it," Millard said. "I feel like I've arrived or something, when the Jaguars know who you are.
"I want to thank the Jaguars, the Jaguars Women's Association and all the women that worked really hard to put this on. Hang in there and keep supporting our Jaguars. They're doing wonderful things in the community. They're a breath of fresh air."