Motivated by his mother,
Raiders tight end Jared Cook
continues to raise awareness
of breast cancer
Since entering the league in 2009, Raiders tight end Jared Cook has made an
impact on the football field, setting multiple franchise records throughout
his career. Cook set the franchise’s single-game receiving yardage record by
a tight end with 180 yards in Week 1 this season and currently leads the team in
receiving yards with 400 through the first six games.
Still his greatest achievement during his 10-year NFL career is the impact he
has had in the community.
From volunteering throughout the city of Oakland, helping empower youth and
staying involved with his hometown, Cook never turns down an opportunity to give
back. But it’s his work among breast cancer survivors and the Susan G. Komen
foundation that tops his list.
Cook’s connection with the Susan G. Komen foundation is a personal one. As a
junior at South Carolina, Cook’s mother, Yulinda, was diagnosed with the disease.
Because of Yulinda’s close bond with her son, she refrained from telling him,
knowing he would come home from school to be with her. Instead, she wanted
Jared to focus on school and his goal of reaching the NFL.
“The biggest thing for me was just seeing the struggles that my mom went
through,” Cook said. “Her just fighting for everything that she’s worked so hard
for her whole life.”
After seeing his mom beat cancer, Cook began to focus on helping others beat
the disease as well.
For nine years, he has hosted the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic, a three-day event
featuring some of the top high school teams in Georgia, at his alma mater of North
Gwinnett High School. Each year the mission of the showcase remains the same,
to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation of Greater Atlanta.
Throughout its history, the Jared Cook Classic has raised nearly $20,000
toward education and research in the fight against breast cancer. Now in its 10th
year, the Jared Cook Classic will tip off on November 17 with a field of 19 teams
competing in 14 games over three days.
Cook has also started a new partnership with Stryker this year, who specializes
in breast reconstruction awareness. Together Cook and Stryker hope to help
educate breast cancer survivors about the options and technology available for
“Seeing her trying to maintain her visual appearance, her womanhood, as well
as her life. That was probably the biggest struggle for me, seeing her lose her
identity. That’s something that’s so important to so many women,” Cook said on
what inspired him to partner with Stryker.
“Anytime that I can be an instrument in helping her in that, anytime I can be
a stepping stone in helping her get through that, it was no problem to me because
she helped me through so many struggles in my life.”
2018 Raiders Gameday 89