Gabe Northern, a LSU football star who went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings, walked over to the sidelines as women in the ladies football camp took a break to grab some water to beat dehydration. “Breast cancer had infiltrated my family and this is what I can do,” Northern said of the special breast cancer fundraiser. “Football is what I love. Football comes naturally.”

Northern said that both his grandmother — who died from the disease — and his cousin have fought battles with breast cancer. His cousin now has the disease for a second time. NFL greats and area participants gathered Saturday at BREC Memorial Stadium for one common cause: to fight breast cancer. “You have to be able to master the elements,” Northern said about the heat as 30 women turned out to pitch footballs and master drills. “You can’t let the elements determine the outcome of the game.”

As Northern talked about the game and how women could overcome the obstacles at camp, he acknowledged the similarities between their struggle through camp and their fight against breast cancer. “It’s really a battle,” Northern said. “You have to be mentally tough to go into that chemo, you have to be mentally tough knowing that your hair will fall out. “You can’t let the elements determine the outcome,” he said. “You have to be ready every day; you have to persevere.”

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