Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin Bring Super Bowl Teamwork to Fight Against Childhood Cancer

Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. Now, they're teaming up to fight childhood cancer

Editor's note: Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin teamed up to win two Super Bowls with the New York Giants in the 2007 and 2011 seasons. In recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, the legendary quarterback and coach are raising awareness about a disease that afflicts nearly 10,000 children under the age of 15 every year, according to the American Cancer Society.

There are times when we all must overcome adversity. You cannot be resilient unless you’ve had to deal with an obstacle, setback, or surprise. Adversity and resiliency are inseparable companions. External noise can erode a team's confidence and camaraderie, but it's during these times that the small gestures among team members become profoundly meaningful. We know this through our journey to capture two Super Bowl rings together, something we could not have achieved without a team of individuals who were as equally committed to this goal as we were to each other.

The concept of team is truly beautiful and extends far beyond the confines of a locker room and football field. A lot of football fans may not realize this, but the individuals who run the cafeteria for sports franchises are some of the most important people on a team. They keep us fueled. There was one chef named Rachael who had charge of kitchen at Quest Diagnostic Training Center who we can never thank enough. Rachael used to bring peanut butter cookies right up to the coaches’ offices. It seems like such a little thing, but it meant so much. We still love those cookies, and she will forever be a part of our Super Bowl winning team.

Related: After Winning 2 Super Bowls Together, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin Tackle Childhood Cancer and Hunger

That’s because the people you lean on, who celebrate with you, go through the highs and lows with you, take care of you and vice versa — that’s your team. And it is in this spirit that Tackle Kids Cancer — the philanthropic initiative of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and patient care programs at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute — and the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation are teaming up to place a spotlight on families tackling childhood cancer and the people on their teams.

Elsa -- Getty Images Sport Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin
Elsa -- Getty Images Sport Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin

Unfortunately, families confronting a pediatric cancer diagnosis often face the perfect storm of hard times. If the diagnosis wasn’t devastating enough, cancer is expensive. The average cost of a cancer drug can run a family $200,000 a year, which is quite a hefty sum when you consider the national median household income is just over $70,000. In fact, according to a survey the Jay fund conducted of families it is currently assisting, 87% said their income had gone down amid treatment and hospital visits while 52% had to quit their job to become a full-time caregiver and 67% had to take unpaid leave.

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So many people feel alone in their journey. This is why the work we are doing together is so critical and complements each other so well. Tackle Kids Cancer is focused on raising money to help fund essential life-saving research and cures for pediatric cancer, and the Jay Fund is right by their side focusing on the here and now, helping families through the emotional rollercoaster and paying their household expenses so they can focus on what’s important.

Related: Eli Manning Urges Super Bowl Teammates to Support Coach Tom Coughlin's Childhood Cancer Charity

Elsa/Getty Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin
Elsa/Getty Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin

This September, in support of families facing the unthinkable, and in recognition of all the people who become part of their teams during their cancer journey, we are asking the social media universe to show families they are not alone by sharing photos of your team. It can be your family, friends, high school football team, your group of friends, teachers, co-workers, or anyone you consider to be part of your squad.

Between now and the end of September, simply post a photo with the hashtag #ShowUsYourTeam and tag @tcjayfund and @tacklekidscancr. Throughout the month we will be sharing photos of some of the patients we are helping along with their teams. So, get off the sidelines during childhood cancer awareness month and show us your team!

For more information on the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation visit tcjayfund.org. For more information on Tackle Kids Cancer, visit tacklekidscancer.org.

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