NFL Health Update: Oakland signs cancer patient as 'Raider for day'



The Raiders recently made a young cancer survivor's wish come true. Joseph "JJ" Orecchia was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor that led to his right leg being amputated. When JJ was diagnosed, he had two wishes – for his dad, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class William Orecchia, to come home and to meet the Oakland Raiders.

His first wish came true when his dad returned from Afghanistan, and on September 13, the Raiders granted his second wish.

After being greeted by a Raider Rusher mascot, JJ signed a contract to be a Raider for the day alongside General Manager Reggie McKenzie. He then visited his own locker in the locker room and met each of the players on the team. He watched the Raiders practice and entered into the team huddle.

The following day, JJ attended the Raiders' game against the Texans and had the chance to light the torch in honor of AL DAVIS prior to the start of the game.

"This is the happiest day for me just to see him smile because every day it's a battle for him," said JJ's mom, Terry Orecchia. "To see him smiling all happy in the limo and going to see the Raiders, my heart is just smiling for once. He wants to fight like [the Raiders] and no matter what obstacles come our way, we're going to fight through it and we're going to win."


The Bills Toyota Rookie Club were recently joined by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and Niagara Falls Superintendent Cynthia Bianco to unveil a new turf surface at Nicoletti Field at Niagara Falls High School. Bills rookies also led youth players through a Heads Up Football practice to emphasize proper tackling techniques. A portion of the funding for this project came through a $200,000 grant from the Bills through the NFL Foundation and LISC as part of the NFL Grassroots Grant Program.

"This project helps highlight two of our organization's goals – encouraging youth to be active for 60 minutes each day though the Play 60 program, and educating young athletes through the Heads Up Football initiative," said Bills Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning, Mary Owen.


Chiefs President Mark Donovan, and Lamar Hunt Jr. and his wife, Rita, recently visited The Children's Place along with players Dustin Colquitt, Thomas Gafford and Cairo Santos They announce the agency would be the beneficiary of the 2015 Chiefs Charity Game. In the past 10 years, more than $5 million has been donated to local charities through this program.

Following the announcement, the Chiefs group led the young attendees in Play 60 activities, which were focused on agility, speed, and flexibility.

Since 1978, The Children's Place has been committed to meeting the developmental and mental health needs of young survivors of abuse, neglect and other trauma. Within the Kansas City community and beyond, the agency's specialized expertise in working with traumatized young children has made The Children's Place a recognized leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

To learn more about The Children's Place, visit


The Washington Redskins visited Richmond, VA on September 16 and hosted two Redskins Charitable Foundation events – the Back to School Shopping Spree presented by Macy's and the Redskins Reading Rally at Winterpock Elementary School.

At the Back to School Shopping Spree, Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, Sherry Gruden, wife of Head Coach Jay Gruden, Kiersten Allen, wife of president & general manager Bruce Allen and Redskins players Alfred Morris, Trent Murphy, Silas Redd, Jr., Darrel Young, Niles Paul and Nick Sundberg served as personal shoppers to children in need from Redd Elementary School and Overby-Sheppard Elementary School as they selected new outfits for school.

Meanwhile at Winterpock Elementary School, students received a surprise visit from Chris Baker and Akeem Davis, who delivered Redskins Read Activity Books to classrooms and read with students, reinforcing the importance of literacy to kick off a new school year.


The Dolphins and the Humane Society of Broward County recently teamed to spread awareness about responsible pet ownership in a visit to the Lester H. White Boys & Girls Club.

Mike Pouncey and Jason Fox, along with Miami Dolphins Women's Organization members Diane Philbin (wife of coach Joe Philbin) and Joanne O'Keefe (wife of wide receivers coach Ken O'Keefe), engaged more than 100 Boys & Girls Club members and interacted with pet ambassadors.

"I grew up with dogs," said Fox. "Me and my brother, we had a lot of responsibilities with the dog. We enjoyed playing with him, but that's part of having dogs is taking care of them."

The kids learned the proper ways to take care of pets and the responsibilities that come with ownership.


The Saints recently hosted a Moms Football Safety Clinic at the team's training facility.

The event helped provide more than 150 mothers, with the latest information about football safety through USA Football's Heads Up Football program.

Saints owner/vice chairman of the board Rita Benson LeBlanc, president Dennis Lauscha, general manager Mickey Loomis, coach Sean Payton, head athletic trainer Scottie Patton and Tulane/Saints safety Devon Walker's mother Inez all spoke at the event on a variety of topics and took time to address the participants questions.

After the discussion period, the mothers took part in hands-on activities where they learned the proper techniques of Heads Up tackling.

"It's credibility, said participant Shatell Payton, if I go back and tell my son, 'I learned this at the Saints camp, at the Saints facility' it's not some 'Mom, you don't know anything' it's big credibility. It strengthens that bond and strengthens our love and passion for the game."

-- NFL Communications

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.