Eagles rookie Kelee Ringo makes Mother’s Day every day by creating health awareness as mom beats breast cancer

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By Webdesk

Kelee Ringo couldn’t help but smile with his mother the moment he was called up by the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did Ringo’s dreams of playing in the NFL come true, but the former University of Georgia standout also thought about everything his family has been through leading up to being selected in Round 4 of last year’s draft. month.

Ringo received a very different phone call three years earlier that changed his life. His mother, Tralee Hale, was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer – triple-negative ductal carcinoma – that is affected by a rare gene mutation in people of color. She was 39.

Ringo was just nine weeks into his first year in 2020 when he got the call he was so dreading.

“Before I went to school (that June), we could see that she had some sort of ball on her chest,” Ringo told CBS Sports. “We hoped it wasn’t.”

Ringo saved his freshman year in Georgia and decided to fight alongside his mother – even though it came from across the country, as his mother was nearly 2,000 miles away in Arizona. There was nothing Ringo could physically do to help her except the one thing he could control.

“If I did my job, she would definitely be mentally satisfied,” Ringo said. “I didn’t let her diagnosis let me down. She wanted me to keep fighting.”

While Ringo fought to get on the field, Hale fought to save her life. Just two years later, both Ringo and Hale won their fights.

Ringo had the game-sealing interception with 54 seconds left before returning for a 79-yard touchdown to give Georgia its first national championship since 1980. Just a month later, Hale was cancer-free.

Hale fought a battle that is hard to win. After finishing chemotherapy in December 2020, Hale had both breasts removed because precancerous cancers were found in her other breasts and lymph nodes. She had to resume chemotherapy to destroy any other cancer cells that might have been left behind. Tissue biopsies showed that small traces of cancer lingered in her blood, resulting in more chemotherapy and a huge physical toll on her body.

Five surgeries after the initial diagnosis, Hale won the fight of her life in February 2022. Tests revealed no traces of cancer, but Ringo and Hale were far from done with their fight.

Ringo and Hale launched Ringo Family Foundation last year, on a mission to eradicate triple-negative breast cancer. The platform for Ringo is one of the most powerful in the country, an NFL player playing in a city that has one of the most passionate fan bases in the league, while also being in one of the largest media markets in the country.

When women are encouraged to get screened for cancer, that victory is greater for Ringo than any achievement on the football field.

“This disease — it really deteriorates your body,” Ringo said. “Mentally, going through chemo is a real poison. You just have to keep fighting with that person because of what they’re going through.

“I want to continue to be an advocate for women’s health in general because of what I’ve seen my mother go through.”

The moment Ringo received the second life-changing phone call, the sunglasses hid the full ride of emotion he’s been on for the past few years. There was Rice, hugging him as he smiled with relief.

There was uncertainty that Rice would ever see this day — whether Ringo would even have that moment.

“I was just in a big blur of emotion about how much time and effort we put into this and how hard we worked. And how we were able to achieve our goals together,” said Ringo. “It was a big sigh of relief, but now it’s time to finish the story and I’m motivated to do that for her.”

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