NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Cowboys’ game this past weekend looked a little different. The end zone, logos and signage all signified it was the Cowboys’ “Crucial Catch” activation game.

Crucial Catch is a partnership between the NFL and the American Cancer Society that started back in 2009 and focuses on efforts to catch all cancers early by advocating and raising awareness about the importance of regular cancer screenings.

Since it began, the Jeff Fehlis with the American Cancer Society says the partnership has raised more than 22 million dollars through merchandise sales, auction items and donations, all available virtually this year on the Cancer Society website.

“Offense makes the best defense when it comes to cancer,” Fehlis says. “It is about awareness. Getting people aware, encouraging people to get screened, and encouraging them to take action on anything they find that doesn’t feel right.”

“Crucial Catch” games will be taking place for all 32 NFL teams throughout the month of October, which is also “Breast Cancer Awareness” month.

Unfortunately, due to fear of COVID-19, Fehlis says the American Cancer Society has been tracking a delay in people getting regular cancer screenings.

The non-profit has also experienced a fundraising shortage this year related to the pandemic. The decrease in donations could result in a 50% decrease in the funding the American Cancer Society invests in cancer research.

“We can’t afford a delay,” Fehlis says.

“Cancer doesn’t stop and neither do we. Hitting pause — whether in screenings or research– all that does is gives cancer an opportunity to advance and we cannot allow that to happen.”

North Texans have two opportunities to support local events, benefitting the American Cancer Society.

The Dallas Cattle Baron’s Ball has an online auction and virtual raffle that are open until October 17.

The Fort Worth Cowtown Ball just wrapped up their auction, but they are still accepting donations.

Madison Sawyer