BANGOR, Maine — Four New England Patriots cheerleaders greeted Bangor area fans Saturday, raising breast cancer awareness and money toward research.
The event at Wireless Zone, a Verizon Wireless retailer on Stillwater Avenue, brought in about 500 people, according to Chad O’Leary, who owns the Wireless Zone franchise with his wife, Mindy. Fans got autographs from and took pictures with the cheerleaders. A line of people stretched out the front door for much of the afternoon event. The company held a similar event in 2011.
“Our goal is to bring people together in a fun way to celebrate our community while raising awareness and funding for a disease that affects so many,” Mindy O’Leary said in a news release about the event.
One of the cheerleaders was Standish native Alyssa Caddle, 29. She attended Bonny Eagle High School before going to college at Northeastern University in Boston, where she was a member of the dance team.
She and some teammates tried out to be Patriots cheerleaders on a whim and she ended up being selected to be on the squad from 2006 to 2008. She returned this year for a final season, she said.
Her grandmother died of breast cancer before she was born. She says the cause is important to everyone on the squad, as just about everyone has been affected by the disease in some way.
“This is a great awareness campaign,” Caddle said. She and other patriots cheerleaders wore all pink uniforms during their last home game.
Caddle said that when the Patriots have an away game, some cheerleaders are sent off to public relations events like the one in Bangor.
Teams across the National Football League have been stressing breast cancer awareness in the month of October, wearing pink to spread the message and selling pink memorabilia to raise money for research.
The league has come under criticism in recent days after a Business Insider report that just 8 percent of pink NFL merchandise sales revenue goes toward breast cancer research after the retailer, manufacturer, American Cancer Society administration and NFL take their cuts.
“Of course, in addition to money, the NFL is also raising awareness for breast cancer and it is hard to put a value on that,” the article states.
Donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure were accepted throughout the day at the Bangor event, and 10 percent of proceeds from all Wireless Zone accessory purchases also went to the organization. A tally of how much was raised wasn’t available Saturday afternoon. Verizon is a sponsor of the New England Patriots.