the study of the kicking components within sports

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kicking for the Dream

Kicking For The Dream was created by NFL Kicker Billy Cundiff as a way to support the Colleen's Dream Foundation. Colleen’s Dream Foundation started in 2012 and supports research for early detection and improved treatment for ovarian cancer. The story of Colleen’s Dream started in 2007 when Colleen Drury, Billy Cundiff's mother-in-law, was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. The family's eyes were opened to a new world that was filled with invasive surgery, harsh chemotherapy, and lots of uncertainty. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as “the silent killer” because many women do not discover their disease until it is in the late stages, which leads to many women succumbing to the disease within a short period of time. Unlike cervical or breast cancer, ovarian cancer does not have a standardized early detection procedure. When it comes to women’s health, ovarian cancer proves to be one of the deadliest diseases.

We recently spoke to Billy about the Dream (along with a bonus question about kicking).

You've got a growing list of fellow kicking specialists working for the cause. What can other specialists not already on that list do to join/help? 
"The process is simple. Go to http://donate.kickingforthedream.com and set up a profile. Then, spread the word. Use social media to create positive change. You are only limited by your creativity. Some guys choose to do performance-based programs (donate x amount for every punt, kickoff, or fg), while others just try to get straight donations. No matter the format, the money goes straight to funding critical ovarian cancer research."

What can everyone else (who is not a kicking specialist) do to help the dream? 
"Two things: donate to the general campaign or to a specific participant and help spread awareness. There is no reliable, accurate early detection test for ovarian cancer. Letting people know the signs and symptoms can help saves lives. Ovarian cancer whispers and its important for women to listen. We have a ton of information at www.colleensdream.org."

What has been the biggest challenge in the efforts so far?
"The biggest challenge has been getting in front of other specialists and explaining exactly what Kicking For The Dream is and what we are trying to accomplish. Once I speak to a group, everyone understands how easy it is to get involved and how they can make a difference. Plus, this is a program that transcends age, talent, or geographically region. No matter your level of play (high school to the pros) and no matter where you live- you can join our team."

Is there any particular inspirational story or result you've encountered since becoming involve with this? 
"Two things really stuck out about our first year. One, the involvement from the NFL guys and the kicking community was amazing. We had Nick Novak (Chargers), Ryan Quigley (Jets), and Spencer Lanning (Browns) step up and get behind us. Michael Husted is a good friend of mine and he got behind the project. A ton of guys in the NCS network showed support and even retired NFL guys like Matt Stover, Neil Rackers, Morten Andersen got involved. Second, we had two high schoolers (Luke Taylor and Joe Giglio) who combined to raise over $5000. Both guys got their communities involved and really created some buzz about Kicking For The Dream. Joe was featured on the local news. I was overwhelmed by their support for the project and how they were able to raise important awareness about ovarian cancer."

One unrelated question, regarding your day job with the Browns... is there anything different you've been doing this year in the off-season or preseason in preparation for the upcoming season?
"The only thing I have changed this off-season is trying to kick on grass more often. I live in Arizona in the offseason, so in the past I would kick at Chaparral HS on the turf field. This offseason I did most of my workouts at Scottsdale Community College on their grass fields. In Cleveland, we play on grass and it can get chewed up at times. The more that I can kick on less-than-ideal surfaces with lots of wind, the better. You can't simulate the Cleveland cold weather in Phoenix, but by living in Arizona in the offseason I have the ability to kick outside when most of Ohio is still covered in snow."

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