Fist bumps, high-fives, selfies, you name it. When Santana Dotson rallies people to tackle cancer, he’s all in. Santana is about to return for his fourth straight year as the Chairperson for the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. One reason he keeps coming back is because he’s always liked being a part of a winning team.
“Vince Lombardi was legendary with what he did on the football field, but also now with how he’s impacting cancer through the foundation. So to be a part of that legacy, as a Packer at Lambeau Field, and with the foundation, it’s an honor and a blessing and a privilege,” Santana says.
He is a former defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers, helping them win a championship in 1997, and is now in the Packers Hall of Fame. His football accomplishments are impressive, but there was always someone in his life who kept him grounded, someone who reminded him about the importance of giving back—his mother, Caroline.
“Being the son of a social worker, that tells you all you need to know. She wasn’t concerned about All-American or Super Bowl. She was concerned about how I was making, not only my family better, but my community better,” Santana shares.
His mom is another reason he supports the Lombardi Walks: It's not only because of those lessons she taught, but because of the impact this horrible disease had on her. Santana lost his mom to lymphoma three years ago. He and his sister took her to treatments several days a week. He knows firsthand the impact it has on the entire family.
“It upsets the entire support system and family unit. So for me to come to the walk and give people a hug or a high-five, it’s like a pep rally. It’s Lombardi’s way of saying, you can do it and we are here for you.”
If you’re a cancer survivor or want to support others in your community, you can join Santana’s team at one of ten Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer this year. Santana will be in Milwaukee on July 22 and he’ll be ready with a fist bump, if you need it.