FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The Kraft family and the New England Patriots suffered a great loss over the summer when cancer claimed the life of their matriarch, Myra Kraft, Robert Kraft's wife of 48 years. When the Patriots host the San Diego Chargers in the 2011 regular season home opener at Gillette Stadium this Sunday, Myra's absence will be felt, but her presence will still be profound. Prior to the game, more than 70,000 lapel pins with Myra's initials "MHK" will be distributed to fans as they enter the stadium, giving fans an opportunity to join Patriots players and staff in honoring her memory. Last month, the team dedicated the 2011 season to Myra and committed to wearing an "MHK" patch on the chest of every player and on the sleeve of every coach for every game this season. Prior to the game, players, coaches and fans alike will also observe a moment of silence in memory of Myra.
The commitment to producing the lapel pins came in reaction to the numerous requests made by fans after the unveiling of the "MHK" patch during the preseason and the images of Robert Kraft's customized "MHK" lapel pin. Flattered by the requests, the Kraft family decided to produce enough pins to extend one to every member of their season ticket holder family and will distribute more than 70,000 pins at Sunday's game. A limited number of pins will also be available at the Patriots Pro Shop for a $5 donation to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston http://proshop.patriots.com/p/myra-h-kraft-lapel-pin/pid/34937/. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to the fund.
While petite in size, Myra will always be remembered for having a huge heart and for her stature in the many global communities in which she dedicated her professional life. In 1994, she helped create the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and established its mission, which is committed to bettering the lives of youth and families and has donated millions of dollars to supports the efforts of nonprofits and charitable organizations.
Each year, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation selects a season-long initiative to highlight during the football season. Last year, as Myra battled her own cancer, she wanted to raise awareness about the importance of not just prevention, but early detection of all forms of the deadly disease. Through the Patriots Charitable Foundation, the team partnered with three prominent local hospitals to announce a season-long initiative to "Kick Cancer."
This year, in Myra's honor, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation has announced a season-long initiative to "Celebrate Volunteerism," which will aim to inspire others to volunteer as well as highlight individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving and helping others. The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation also announced that they will annually honor dozens of New England's most deserving philanthropists at a ceremony in the spring with the presentation of the recently renamed Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards.