Tampa, FL -- Tampa Bay Bucs Linebacker Adam Hayward keeps a low profile. There are no character concerns. He's a hard worker on defense and special teams. And maybe most important, he's very active in the community. His latest role is his most personal, serving as chairman of Race for the Cure next Saturday.
"I feel our image is the most important thing," Hayward said. "If people look at me and say, 'Oh, that's a great guy because he does everything he can in the community to help with, whether it's breast cancer or with children,' I feel that's where my real place is with football."
This is Hayward's fourth year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But for every tackle he's made, his impact on the field may be dwarfed in the future by his fight for breast cancer awareness andm ultimatelym a cure.
"Everybody has a mother and everybody has a sister, so there's a woman in their life that's important to them. Breast cancer can hit anybody at any time. You have no idea. It happened to me, losing my mother and my best friend. So I felt the only way to show her that she meant the world to me was to do things for her and give back," Hayward said.
He was a sophomore at Colorado State University when his mom, Pauline Hayward, died on August 6, 2004. Coping was extremely difficult.
"It's me. I'm the big, bad football player, and it affected me and it hurt my life and took me away from football for a year," Hayward said. "It can affect everybody, anybody. My biggest thing is you're just never alone."
That is Adam's message as honorary chairman for Race for the Cure, and it's another step in his healing process.
"It helps so much. It makes me feel like a relief because I'm doing everything I can in her memory to help her. Just basically with my family, when they see I do this stuff, it's kind of just, like, she'd be proud of you. It's a great feeling," Hayward said.
Hayward believes his mother would be proud of him for his role in raising awareness about breast cancer.
"She'd give me a big hug and kiss. She'd be really, really proud of me. She'd tell me, but I could just see it in her eyes. When I go to sleep, I know that she is proud of me."
He's very excited Race for the Cure falls on the Bucs bye week. He and his younger brother and sister-in-law plan to run the race.
10 News Anchors Heather Van Nest and Reginald Roundtree will be there to emcee the event October 2nd. Race for the Cure is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Susan G. Komen Suncoast affiliate. The race in Downtown St. Petersburg is expected to raise $1 million for breast cancer research and awareness campaigns.
To make a donation or to learn how to take part in Race for the Cure, click here.
Travis Bell, 10 News