As a microcosm of wider society, the wrestling community are acutely aware of the tragic effects of debilitating illnesses like cancer.
Fans of all ages were rooting for WWE Hall of Famer Jake 'The Snake' Roberts earlier this year when he announced he was to undergo emergency surgery on a cancerous tumour in the muscle tissue behind his knee. Having found the tumour, Roberts sought advice fast and is healing well. Roberts brave response was that "If the devil can't defeat me, cancer doesn't stand a chance in hell! Pray for sick children who face this horrible disease 'cause The Snake will be just fine".
Roberts is not the only wrestler to have suffered at the hands of this disease. His fellow Hall of Famer and recent WWE Legends House member 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan was side lined with kidney cancer from which he successfully recovered and so too, independent wrestler Ashley Sixx -following eight sessions of chemotherapy- successfully recovered from a cancer which had affected his lymph nodes and prevented him from walking.
Others have not been so lucky. Long-time fans of WWE might remember one-legged phenomenon Zach Gowen. As a child, Gowen suffered from the bone cancer Osteogenic Sarcoma and at had his leg removed at only eight years old. He was right to state that cancer is "a family disease and it takes a community to bring relief."
Other WWE followers will know the heart breaking story of Connor Michalek about whom we have written before. This extremely brave young man lost his fight with cancer and to its immense credit, WWE established a charitable fund to help other children suffering from the same rare form of brain cancer.
This week, WWE confirmed that it would be working for the third time with the Susan G. Komen foundation and expanding their partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Across WWE Superstars and Divas will 'go pink' and WWE will donate some 20% of the relevant merchandise and 5% of all merchandise on WWEShop.com to the charity. Pink Hulkamania T-shirts look set to run wild across the wrestling fandom! The breadth of the partnership between the foundation and WWE is remarkable. Ring ropes will be coloured, the WWE HQ will fly a flag and the WWE Network will play its part. The joint partnership, launched in 2012 has helped to raise over $1,200,000 for the charity and is not limited to Breast Cancer Awareness month - having operated during the National Women's Health Week in the US.
One of the most important aspects of this or indeed any campaign is raising awareness. It is vitally important that women are performing regular checks and are unafraid to seek advice if concerned. Cancer Research UK have a guide and there are other charities that also provide advice. The UK NHS is of course an excellent source of information.
It is not only breast cancer that is subject to awareness raising efforts though. Royal Rambling's Danny was lucky enough to recently attend a TV filming for an inspirational campaign seeking to have men 'Feeling Nuts'. The testicular awareness campaign 'Check One-Two' was established by Simon and Andrew Salter in 2012 when they found that men were needlessly dying from a cancer which if caught early is 100% curable. Understanding the male attitude to health, they devised a brilliant, humorous campaign to ensure men were checking themselves and not feeling too embarrassed to seek help. We hope to have some Superstars feeling nuts soon!
The bottom line is that cancer is not selective. The familities of both of the authors of this blog have suffered at the hands of cancer. Wrestlers, wrestling fans and those from outside the wrestling community can all be affected. Whilst the charities need support, awareness raising is crucial. So we pay tribute to WWE and their efforts during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, much as we saluted their efforts to get people reading. These are important symbols of civic responsibility and corporate leadership. We afford the company a platform through our patronage and it is to their credit that they use it to raise awareness. To paraphrase a British footballing quote, this is not simply about responsible sports entertainment. It's a matter of life and death.