More to Super Bowl: NFL wants to leave lasting legacies in communities through outreach Check out a few highlights that positively impacted the Minneapolis-St. Paul area

Beyond the chilly Minneapolis temperatures, the highly anticipated gridiron showdown, the electrifying halftime performance and the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy, there were a plethora of community service events surrounding Super Bowl LII, as is the case each year.

Sunday’s season-ending celebration closed with a 41-33 win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area saw 32 activities and community outreach events throughout the city, which was part of the NFL’s plan to leave a lasting legacy.

For example, Special Olympics Minnesota partnered with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to host a Polar Plunge, a signature winter event centered on participants jumping into a body of icy water and raising funds to support more than 8,200 people with intellectual disabilities across the state.

But there’s more.

Out of the 32 announced events that took place in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII weekend and the weeks leading up to the big day, here are a few community outreach events of note.


Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee partnered with the Downtown Congregations to kick off Super Bowl week with an interfaith gathering to celebrate unity and shared purpose. The gathering was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The celebration showcased Minnesota’s national leadership in multifaith dialogue and cooperation and will raise money to prevent homelessness. The event is the work of the Twin Cities faith community — rabbis, priests, pastors, imams and other leaders — coming together to send a message about unity in the Twin Cities.


The NFL Foundation and Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund hosted a special character development event for local Minnesota High School athletic directors and their respective head football coach and female coach of influence at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine.


The NFL and Special Olympics Minnesota hosted a Special Olympics Unified Flag Football game.


The Pro Football Hall of Fame showcased more than 130 artifacts during the week. The one-of-a-kind treasures allowed the Hall to convey the NFL’s 98-year history since the league’s birth in Canton, Ohio, in 1920.


Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis was the site of Super Bowl LIVE, a 10-day fan festival leading up to Super Bowl LII curated by Grammy-winning producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The event, free and open to the public, encompassed six blocks on Nicollet Mall and featured food and fun. Highlights included an evening of music honoring Prince.


Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, along with Diane Sims Page, executive director of the Page Education Foundation, presented TESTIFY, a preview of their collection of Americana from slavery to today. The wide-ranging exhibit features art and artifacts from pivotal eras in American history while providing a platform for visitors to share their thoughts, feelings and personal experiences.


The NFL hosted NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp, a free event on the field at Super Bowl Experience Driven by Genesis at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event included 300 predominantly Hispanic youths from the Minnesota area. The noncontact football camp was led by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz.


As part of Salute to Service, the NFL invited veterans, active-duty servicemen and women and their families to Military Appreciation Day. The NFL is working with its military nonprofit partners, including Wounded Warrior Project, to invite attendees. The event included football-themed activities, meet-and-greets and a special “Thank You” moment for all service members.


Children from the Minneapolis area participated and learned more about the importance of healthy living at the NFL PLAY 60 Kids’ Day, which gives more than 1,000 local children the opportunity to spend time with NFL players.


The NFL and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee hosted the Super Bowl LII Business Connect: Celebrating Opportunities, Teamwork & Success, spotlighting the accomplishments of Super Bowl LII Business Connect suppliers and local businesses that have grown and thrived under the tutelage of the program’s professional development initiatives and, acknowledging NFL event contractors who’ve aggressively used the program, awarding contract opportunities to the vendors in the program. More than 350 Minnesota businesses in 40 vendor categories participated in the 18-month Business Connect program, which identifies Super Bowl LII contracting opportunities and matches those contracts with experienced, local diverse business owners in the program. To qualify for participation in Business Connect, businesses must be 51 percent owned by a minority, woman, veteran, lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender individual. The Business Connect Celebration is a ticketed event for participating business owners.


The NFL Player Care Foundation (PCF) and the NFL Alumni Association (NFLA) partnered to conduct their annual Super Bowl Healthy Body and Mind Screening program. This complimentary national program is open to all former NFL players and includes cardiovascular and prostate screenings and mental health resources and education. Comprehensive blood testing will be offered to the wives and significant others who accompany former player screening participants and are being provided by NFLA free of charge.


The NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities of the Super Bowl host city with the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program, made possible each year by a $1 million contribution from the NFL Foundation and matched by the Super Bowl Host Committee. This year, the NFL and Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s grants are focused on improving access and creating healthy behaviors for a lifetime, whether it’s access to physical activity or nutritious food. To build a healthier, more active, life-changing future for all of Minnesota’s children, the Super Bowl Legacy Fund’s strategic areas of giving are fun, fuel and fundamentals.

As a culmination of their 52 Weeks of Giving Campaign, the yearlong effort to award 52 Minnesota communities with grants leading up to the big game, NFL and Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee executives awarded the 52nd and final Super Bowl Legacy Grant to Anwatin Middle School.


Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund 52 Weeks of Giving Campaign 52 Weeks of Giving is a yearlong community giving campaign to ensure that hosting the big game will leave a lasting legacy for Minnesota’s children.

Each week, for 52 weeks, the Legacy Fund provides a capital grant to a community organization in Minnesota that is committed to improving the health and wellness of children. The grants help improve access to nutritious food and physical activity and create healthy behaviors in Minnesota’s youths.


For the past 23 years, Rebuilding Together has partnered with the NFL to host community revitalization projects in Super Bowl cities across the country. These NFL-sanctioned events provide critical home repairs for people in need and their communities.

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities hosted a community revitalization project to rehabilitate six homes and develop a community garden in the Bryant neighborhood of South Minneapolis. The community garden will give neighbors access to fresh produce, which is extremely limited in the area, and offer residents opportunities to connect with their neighborhood.

This couple shares 47 years, beat cancer twice and are now stealing hearts in these photos Meet the Brewingtons. Their photographer daughter posted their anniversary pics and they’ve gone viral.

When photographer Amber Robinson posted photos of her parents on her company Facebook page and on Instagram last week commemorating their 47th wedding anniversary, she didn’t think it would become a poster moment for the hashtag #relationship goals, but that’s what happened.

Those six photos unfolded a love story that proves the traditional wedding ceremony vows for “in sickness and in health” are real.

“In this wonderful creative industry that I worked in, I focus so much on providing couple hours with a day of beautiful photography,” Robinson posted. “To be honest, rarely do I stop to think about the day, weeks, months or years that follow a wedding day.

“So today I share with you what those years after can look like when true love exists. These are my parents: married for 47 years, they have triumphed over cancer … twice. Have raised two successful daughters. They have been poor together and rich together. They have fed, sheltered, and advised countless lost souls. They love with out expectation and give freely, whatever it is they have to offer.

“I am SO proud to call them Mom and Dad. They are the epitome of where I strive to be in my own marriage and a constant reminder that a wedding is only a day, but a marriage is forever.”

Robinson’s mother, Wanda Brewington, is 67. Her dad, Marvin, is 70. The couple recently shared their secrets of love with Essence, and they include “honesty and communication, never going to bed upset, and finding a way to compliment your partner.”

The two met at Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina, and were married in 1970 in Wanda Brewington’s hometown of Wilkesboro. Marvin Brewington was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973 and with colon cancer in 1987. In 2013, he’d learn he was living with prostate cancer, and that same year Wanda Brewington was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The two told Essence that their “love for each other and faith in God” was the bond that helped them through their health problems. “We made a vow on our wedding day, through sickness and health, and have always been determined that we can and will overcome anything. On the days that one of us is down, the other one picks us up.”

Robinson, a mother of four, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. She recently told Yahoo! Lifestyle that growing up, she thought “it was disgusting to see our parents hug and kiss so much. But now, as a married woman, I understand.

“But we also grew up with a realistic version of love — my dad has multiple sclerosis and survived prostate cancer twice, and he leaned on my mom for support.”

Instagram Photo


My personal cancer survivor story and how early detection saved my life ‘Getting tested might put you in a brief moment of discomfort. Not getting tested could lead to a slow, painful death.’

Last month a friend used his social media account to share news of a pending colonoscopy. He made comments about being afraid. He shared a video of a scene from a comedy film that made light of a patient getting an invasive digital prostate exam. He even joked about how the procedure would leave him feeling violated.

While reading this back-and-forth, I’d finally had enough.

“Stop it,” I wrote, explaining that people might take his words seriously enough that they would avoid a procedure that might save their life.

I can speak to those lifesaving procedures firsthand. Five years ago I underwent a series of tests that revealed that I had prostate cancer that, over a two-year period, had become very aggressive. On this, the 30th annual National Cancer Survivors Day, I can honestly say that if I had been afraid to take a digital rectal exam that many men — like my friend — fear, it’s unlikely I’d be here today to share my story.

An exaggeration? Hardly. I’ve witnessed the horrific way cancer takes you out.

The first time cancer affected my immediate family was in 1993 when my mother died after a two-year battle with melanoma. The skin cancer wasn’t detected early, and those deadly cells metastasized through her entire body, leaving her bones brittle. She was 56 when she died.

Cancer struck again about 15 years later when my brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His wasn’t caught early, and on the night he died he struggled through his last breaths as our family watched helplessly at his hospital bedside. My brother and mother left behind sisters, brothers, a spouse, children and grandkids. To this day, we all continue to struggle with our loss.

I am thankful to be a survivor. And I’m still alive today — more than five years after my radical prostatectomy procedure, which removed my prostate — because of the preventive tests. It’s because of those tests that death rates in 11 of the 16 common cancers for men and 13 of the 18 common cancers for women have been lowered.

My survival story? I was 49, without a health scare or care in the world. Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind, even though my doctors had included a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test each year I had a physical.

My brother losing his battle with prostate cancer in 2010 shook me. And then, the very next year, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer, leading to his surgery.

Two people affected by cancer in a short period of time hit close to home. I started to do some research and found that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. If you’re black, the group with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, those odds increase to 1 in 5.

At that time I realized I had been two years between tests. I immediately scheduled a PSA and found that my levels had doubled in two years. A second blood test revealed the same results, and the biopsy several months later revealed an aggressive cancer in my prostate.

The next six months were tough. I endured a series of uncomfortable tests. Later, my scheduled surgery was delayed because of a lesion found on my rib cage. The fear? The cancer had already spread, which would have made my surgery unnecessary. Fortunately another biopsy, my third, revealed the lesion wasn’t cancerous.

In July 2012 I had my prostate removed. Two weeks later, I started a new job.

My cancer was caught early. The key word is “caught” because it would have never been detected had I not undergone the many preventive procedures in place that save lives. Early detection of prostate cancer results in survival rates that exceed 95 percent.

I feel blessed to be alive. If my brother-in-law hadn’t been diagnosed the year after my brother’s death, there’s a chance that I may not have gone for a screening. Going an extra year without a screening may have been, for me, the difference between life and death.

Honestly, I had never heard of National Cancer Survivors Day until I was assigned this story. That might be because I celebrate being a survivor every single day.

Early detection is key. Early detection is harmless. Early detection saves lives.

Getting tested might put you in a brief moment of discomfort. Not getting tested could lead to a slow, painful death.

Which would you choose?

My choice, based on what I’ve witnessed, was easy.