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Remarks on Presenting the American Cancer Society's Courage Award to Jack Pardee

April 11, 1973

Ladies and gentlemen:

This is an annual responsibility that I have and a very great honor, and that is to present the American Cancer Society Award to a very outstanding individual. It seems that each year we have topped the one from last year, and all of you are aware of my great admiration for people who are successful in any area and particularly those who are successful in the area of sports.

Those of us here in Washington have admired Jack Pardee for his being a great athlete, for his being beyond that a great leader of men, an inspirational leader. When we think of Washington next year, I just wonder what that defense will be without Jack Pardee calling the signals, not just his tackles but what he inspired others to do. He will be there certainly in an inspirational coaching way, I hope, or in some capacity. I have been trying to get him to change his mind and play. No one can handle them better than you can.

But I think all of us, most Americans, would be surprised, unless they followed sports closely, to know that Jack Pardee once suffered from a very, very serious form of cancer, skin cancer. He went through an i x-hour operation. And there was a serious doubt as to whether he first might get well, but of course, it was an almost inescapable conclusion that he would never play football again.

He got well, and he demonstrated, not only to the city of Washington but to the National Football Conference and all the world, that he was a great athlete and a great man during this last season.

And Jack, your example is certainly an inspiration to all of us, everybody who works in this field. It will be to those who have to go through the tragic problems of cancer, for their families, as your family had to go through, and I don't think the American Cancer Society could have made a better choice. I will read the citation:

"The American Cancer Society salutes a courageous man and a remarkable athlete, Jack Pardee, for his heroism in a personal triumph over cancer; and for the hope and inspiration he has given to his fellow Americans in their fight for life and health."

MR. PARDEE. As a team the American Cancer Society couldn't have a better captain than you are and the leadership you have shown to us in instigating legislation to help all of us, and we appreciate that.

Note: The President spoke at 3:07 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

Jack Pardee, a linebacker for the Washington Redskins professional football team, was honorary chairman of the District of Columbia Cancer Crusade.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Presenting the American Cancer Society's Courage Award to Jack Pardee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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