“Purple Out” – Pancreatic Cancer Awareness


[Jack May@jmay2@mlive.com, Reprinted by The DeSean Jackson Foundation, November 26, 2013]

Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School Partners with DeSean Jackson Foundation for ‘Purple Out’ for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

[Reprinted by The DeSean Jackson Foundation, November 26, 2013]

DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, and his foundation, The DeSean Jackson Foundation, have teamed up with the Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School, in Fenton, Michigan to raise awareness to Pancreatic Cancer and advocate for research for funding and support for those diagnosed with this dreadful disease and their families.

DeSean Jackson and his mother, Gayle Jackson, founded The DeSean Jackson Foundation, in 2009 in memory of William “Bill” Jackson, DeSean’s father who died shortly after being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Jackson states, “I lost my hero, my best friend and my father to Pancreatic Cancer and I deal with that loss each and every day of my life; but, right now it’s not about me and family. It’s about AGS and these kids who reached across the league to me to help their voices be heard.”

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

In October 2013, the Jacksons were contacted by Jill Smigiel, a teacher at AGS, through Twitter on behalf of several student athletes who were adamant about the fact that Pancreatic Cancer receives less funding for research and less national attention than other cancers; and, the life expectancy is less than other cancers; and, there is no cure.

The students were also adamant about the fact that the NFL has exclusively embraced Breast Cancer Awareness and dedicates an entire month to raise funds for research and awareness to eradicate breast cancer; and, does not give at least a honorable mention or equal consideration to those afflicted with Pancreatic Cancer– which has taken the lives of several membes of the NFL Family members; and, thousands of othes each year including Bill Jackson, father of  NFL All Pro, DeSean Jackson.

The students wanted to encourage NFL players to wear Purple in November to raise awareness to Pancreatic Cancer as they did across the league in October for National Breast Cancer Awareness.  The students’ advocacy included efforts to reach the NFL Commissioner, NFL Charities and the NFL Players’ Association for consideration to no avail.

Next, the students targeted DeSean Jackson due to the fact that Jackson lost his father to Pancreatic Cancer and challenged Jackson to Stand Up for Pancreatic Cancer by being the first NFL player to wear purple socks during Eagles’ games in November.  Gayle Jackson, DeSean’s mother, interceded on behalf of her son, The DeSean Jackson Foundation and the NFL by advising the students of NFL league rules and the fines associated with non-compliance that made their request impossible.  Mrs. Jackson alsp explained how non-compliance by DeSean of league rules to wear purple socks would be detrimental to the positive impact they wanted to make through their advocacy.  Then, the students decided to advocate by wearing purple socks themselves in protest. Mrs. Jackson was so impressed by their solidarity and advocacy that she convinced her son, DeSean, to help AGS develop a national platform so their voices would be heard. Thus, the AGS “Purple Out” was embraced by the administration, faculty and student population; and, Monday, November 25, 2013 the AGS Middle School launched this historical, inaugural event.

DeSean Jackson commends AGS for helping their students develop a life-long pattern of advancing the common good of becoming successful, purposeful members of society with empathy and compassion for the less fortunate. Jackson requests that media attention be focused on AGS during the “Purple Out” and the real story about Pancreatic Cancer and its impact on our society will be heard in the voices of those who know it best. “It’s not about me nor my family today”, stated Jackson, “it’s about AGS and the kids.”  

Gayle and DeSean are sincerely grateful to AGS Middle School for reaching across the NFL to The DeSean Jackson Foundation; and, DeSean, a Philadelphia Eagles.  Tentative plans for the future included rolling out the “Purple Out” model to schools, corporations and organizations in every city where DeSean’s 700,000 fans want to support his efforts off the field.


[Photos Courtesy of the Flint Journal, Reprinted by The DeSean Jackson Foundation]

Seventh-grader Jacob Metres, 13, takes notes in class while reading from a textbook while wearing a purple shirt, participating in a “Purple Out” to raise awareness and money for pancreatic cancer Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School in Fenton. The school is featured on Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson’s foundation website. Jake May | MLive.com




If you are a school, corporation, community or faith-based organization and wish to develop a “Purple Out” event please complete the following on-line inquiry to: Mrs. Gayle Jackson, President, The DeSean Jackson Foundation. Thank You.

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