5 years. 4 teams. 3-time NFL captain. 2 events. 1 great cause that’s part of a greater story.
During his five-year NFL career, Jack Brewer played for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Arizona Cardinals, and was named team captain three times. He was also selected as a Pro Bowl finalist, an honor that reflects his influence on the field. However, Jack Brewer’s success on the gridiron is just a fraction of his storied success.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Brewer to discuss his philanthropic efforts off the field at one of two fundraisers for breast cancer hosted by The Jack Brewer Foundation and Innovating Health International (IHI).
Among the many things these two organizations do is they provide education and access to treatment for people with chronic diseases in developing countries.
Brewer is so much more than a former NFL player. He’s a worldwide humanitarian, who is passionate about helping those who are less fortunate, and believes he’s in a great position to lend a hand.
“[This has been] important to me all my life. I’ve always had a passion to help people, and I feel like we live in the greatest country on Earth,” Brewer said. “We have more opportunities than most people. We’re in the top 1 percent of the world.”
And, because of that, he’s turning his attention to helping women in some of the poorest areas of the world.
“There aren’t many issues that are more crucial or critical than women’s health, particularly when you talk about treatable diseases that women are dying from in these countries that have no resources,” he said.
Recognizing several diseases such as cancer and diabetes are treatable, and the importance of early detection, Brewer, who sits on the Board of Directors for IHI as an ambassador, and fellow board member, Dr. Vincent DeGennaro Sr., encourage patients to share their stories with others. The hope is that by talking openly, more people can receive treatment in the early stages of their illnesses.
“It’s important to note that 80 percent of our patients arrive in the advanced stages,” Dr. DeGennaro explained. “In the United States, it’s the opposite. Eighty percent of patients come in the early stages. This makes a lot of the treatment harder. A lot more people die. And so, the best way to do that is to shift the need to earlier stages by letting people know what the symptoms are.”
By providing access to treatment and health education services, IHI and the Jack Brewer Foundation are squashing misconceptions about women’s health in general.
IHI provides support for both genders, and all ages, because they realize that women’s health isn’t just a woman’s problem. Furthermore, they recognize that contrary to popular belief, men can (and do) get breast cancer, like retired Cleveland Browns running back Ernie Green did.
Brewer’s goal is to increase awareness, on an international scale, for the services IHI offers because issues such as cancer, diabetes, poverty and natural disasters are global problems.
Brewer will be hosting a fundraiser Tuesday night in New York City honoring the late Demi Brown, who passed away from ovarian cancer on Nov. 14, 2014. Donations benefit MedGift’s Jack Brewer Foundation Global Ambassadors Hurricane Relief Campaign, which will bring healthcare relief by distributing clean water and medical supplies to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
After all, it’s a team effort.