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Tanya Snyder: "This Is A 'We' Honor"

Posted May 8, 2013

Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, was honored as the American Cancer Society's Mother of the Year for her tireless work to help end breast cancer.

On an afternoon when Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, would be honored as the American Cancer Society's Mother of the Year, it was only right that she be introduced by those that know her best: her family.

After introductory comments from longtime journalist Cokie Roberts, Daniel Snyder and the couple's eldest daughter Tiffanie took the stage to share a few stories of Tanya Snyder's selflessness for family and community.

"There's just so many fabulous things that she has started and things she has done and drives on behalf of the NFL," Mr. Snyder remarked. "Tanya, sweetheart, with all the things you've done, this is really deserved."

He went on to introduce Tiffanie Snyder as the couple's "two-pound miracle," as she was born prematurely at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"It took her months to get out of the hospital," Mr. Snyder recalled, "And one of the things she said as soon as she got home was, 'With the things I've seen at the hospital and experienced, we've got to do things for children, immediately.'

"So, immediately we donated to the Children's Hospital, and with Tanya's guidance, created the Snyder Emergency Room and then joined the board. Then she kept going with the Center For Missing and Exploited Children...and that cause is so important."

Four years later when Daniel Snyder bought the Washington Redskins, Tanya Snyder saw an opportunity to use the NFL platform to spread awareness for another cause near and dear to her heart.

"After we bought the Redskins in 1999, she was the first to go out there with the pink ribbons that you now see everywhere," he said. "Our franchise quarterback wears the pink cleats and it's become something that has just overtaken the country. It's cool to wear it and it's something she started and deserves all the credit for.

"When you get cancer, and I'm a survivor as well, she got breast cancer, which is her cause that she started a decade before she got it."

Mr. Snyder then turned the microphone over to Tiffanie, who told several stories illustrating the compassion that Mrs. Snyder had always shown as a mother.

"This speech is for you mom, and I love you so much," she said. "You're the greatest."

Tiffanie remembered the feeling of fear she felt seeing her mother come home from surgery to remove the breast cancer. And yet instead of being able to comfort her mother, it was her mother who was there to comfort her.

"She looked tired and uncomfortable from the tubes protruding from her chest. I was devastated to see my mother in this condition and couldn't help but selfishly cry my eyes out," she said. "Instead of me comforting my mother, she put her arms around me and told me that everything was going to be OK. That was really strong."

Tiffanie also shared the anxieties of preparing for junior prom, an experience soothed only by a mother's intuition.

"I was faced with these 'life-threatening' thoughts of what should I wear, how should I do my hair, and what color nail polish should I try?" she said. "My mom came to my rescue, giving me great advice on what to wear, scheduling my appointments and even doing my makeup. She made my prom perfect.

"She helped my fight for my dreams. She introduced me to everything I love," Tiffanie concluded. "Besides always being there for me, you are also the most beautiful, fashionable and caring woman in the world."

Mrs. Snyder was then introduced, and made clear that none of her efforts would be possible without the people around her.

"I will never forget this day. The list of thank you's is monumental," she said. "I would not be a great mother without a great husband, to start, and Dan I love you very, very much. On behalf of the family, Tiffanie, I love you.

"American Cancer Society, you are first class. Every event that I've done, any time I've been to anything having to do with the organization, it's been so impressionable, so I'm honored to make a difference in the world of cancer."

She went on to explain that her motivation has always been to fight for what she believes in and never for the recognition that she might receive.

"I take this award on behalf of all the women and mothers that I work with every day," she said. "This is not a 'me' honor, this is a 'we' honor, and I say that very, very proudly."

She specifically cited the efforts of the players' wives and girlfriends in helping her to run events like the annual Survivor's Celebration with Chris Cooley, and passing out pink ribbons at October games during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"We have a great team who chooses fabulous women that I get a chance to work with. And with these women, we are able to make a difference," she said. This is not a 'me' at all and I know that, and I want to hug each and everyone and I try as much as I can."

Mrs. Snyder also thanked Vicki Griffith and the Zeta Tau Alphas for their support in spearheading her NFL-wide Think Pink! campaign.

"[Griffith is] a fan, she's a Zeta, and in 1999 she had an idea, and she came to the Redskins and said, 'Hey, grassroots, why don't we do this together? Why don't we start passing the pink ribbons?'" Mrs. Snyder recalled. "We're in the 24 millions [of ribbons] as of today.

"In 2009 we went league-wide, and because of the fabulous players and the difference that they've been able to make on the field, we truly, truly are making a difference with the team effort of everyone in this room."

"It is such a group effort and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Together, we're changing the world. And American Cancer Society, I cannot wait until there is a cure for cancer. Thank you so much."

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