Before every game,
Those prayers hit home for the Miami Dolphins wide receiver even more this month as the NFL promotes breast cancer awareness.
Murphy was just 21 when she lost her battle with breast cancer on March 19th, 2008, and that same year Moore’s father succumbed to liver cancer. So the 25-year-old California native has a much stronger connection to the disease than others, which is why he appreciates what the league has done to raise awareness.
“Words can’t explain how I feel because it was a double shot with my godsister and then my dad, so it’s really difficult just to talk about,” said Moore, who became more than just a best friend to Murphy’s younger brother, Damione Owens. “The thing that really gets to me about her is that the first time we met each other she said to me about her little brother, ‘You’ve got to make sure you look over him and watch out for him.’ So as soon as I graduated high school we had this connection, her and me my godbrother. We were all family.
“For her to battle and struggle the way she did but still keep a smile on her face was an inspiration. Whenever I had a chance to see her I was elated and it made me feel happy because it takes a lot out of you and she was strong. I just remember how happy she would be to see me and her little brother out there on the field playing football.”
Owens and Moore were teammates in college at Fresno State and the two occasionally went on trips together with Murphy and her parents, Rod and Valencia Owens. One time they went to Las Vegas and another time they went to Hawaii.
“She mustered up enough strength to go ahead and get out there and make that trip,” Moore recalled. “She was just so happy and she was smiling and it was just a great feeling. It still breaks me up and all I can say to everyone out there is that the fight’s never over. It doesn’t matter what type of cancer it is, whether it’s breast cancer or prostate cancer for men, the fight’s never over. Having a chance to see her and watch her battle until the end and talk to my godfather and godmother about how she was fighting and battling and kept a smile on her face and didn’t let anything get to her is a big deal to me.”
That experience, along with seeing his father go through his own fight, made Moore a stronger person, even though he wouldn’t wish those two tragedies on anybody. He thinks about April and Ernie everyday and remains close to Owens, living up to the promise he made to the young lady he considered to be his sister.
When Moore was told about the league’s decision to use pink penalty flags in this Sunday’s game at the New York Jets per the suggestion of an 11-year-old elementary school student in New Jersey, he smiled and acknowledged that it made sense. This will be the one and only time he won’t be too disgruntled when one of the officials throws a flag, because it will help send a reminder of what’s really important.
“The way I see life now, there’s no reason for any of us to be complaining when you’re walking around healthy doing what you’re doing,” Moore said. “There’s no reason for us to be complaining because there are people out there dying, people struggling for money and all types of things going on in this world. She’s never far from my mind, nor is my father.
“They have a foundation in her name in Oakland called the Miss April Murphy Memorial Foundation (M.A.M.M.) and they do charity events every year for her to try to raise money and awareness. Every chance I get when this month comes around I send them something to auction off, be it gloves or cleats, and make sure it goes to a good cause. I miss her, I love her and I wish anybody that’s going through that terrible disease the best and I pray that they overcome it. Keep fighting.”
For more information on The M.A.M.M. Foundation you can go to their website at www.themammfoundation.org.