kelee ringo he couldn’t help but smile with his mother the time he was recruited for him philadelphia eagles. Not only Ringo’s dreams of playing in the nfl become a reality, but the former University of Georgia standout thought about everything his family has been through to the point where he was selected in the 4th round of last month’s draft.
Ringo received a very different phone call three years before that changed his life. His mother, Tralee Hale, was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, triple-negative ductal carcinoma, which is affected by a rare genetic mutation in people of color. She was 39 years old.
Ringo was just nine weeks into his first year in 2020 when he got the call he was dreading.
“Before I went to school (in June), we could see that he had some kind of ball on his chest,” Ringo told CBS Sports. “We were hoping it wasn’t that.”
In his first year in Georgia, Ringo decided to fight alongside his mother, even if she was from the other side of the country, since his mother was nearly 1,900 miles away in Arizona. There was nothing Ringo could physically do to help her, except the one thing he could control.
“Doing my job would definitely satisfy her mentally,” Ringo said. “I wasn’t going to let her diagnosis get me down. I wanted her to keep fighting.”
While Ringo was fighting his way onto the field, Hale was fighting for his life. Just two years later, both Ringo and Hale won their fights.
Ringo had the game-sealing interception with 54 seconds remaining that he returned 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 cells were found in the other breast and in the lymph nodes. He had to resume chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Tissue biopsies showed tiny traces of cancer lingering in his blood, resulting in more chemotherapy and a massive physical toll on his body.
Five surgeries after the initial diagnosis, Hale won the fight of his life in February 2022. Tests revealed no traces of cancer, but Ringo and Hale were far from over with their fight.
Ringo and Hale threw Ringo Family Foundation last year, with a mission to eradicate triple negative breast cancer. Ringo’s platform is one of the most powerful in the country, an NFL player playing in a city that is one of the most exciting fan bases in the league, while also being in one of the most exciting media markets. largest in the country.
If women are encouraged to get screened for cancer, that victory is bigger for Ringo than any accomplishment on the football field.
“This disease, it deteriorates your body a lot,” Ringo said. “Mentally, going through chemotherapy is a real poison. You just have to keep fighting with that person about what they are going through.
“I want to continue to be an advocate for women’s health in general because of what I saw my mother go through.”
By the time Ringo received his second life-changing phone call, his sunglasses hid all the emotion he’d experienced over the past two years. There was Rice, hugging him as he smiled in relief.
There was uncertainty that Rice would ever see this day, or if Ringo would ever have that moment.
“I was in a huge blur of excitement 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,” Ringo said. “It was a huge sigh of relief, but now it’s time to finish the story and I’m motivated to do it for her.”