Special Needs Sister Inspires Dante Cano To Think Of Raising Awareness

MARLBORO, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Football fans have an 11-year-old boy to thank for the NFL’s decision to use pink penalty flags for the Jets game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, a move designed to raise awareness for breast cancer.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, Dante Cano is a busy fifth grader, playing soccer and helping his special needs sister.

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But while watching a Giants game, he got a bright idea – with NFL players wearing some pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dante figured, what about the penalty flags – typically yellow — that are seen so often on TV?

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“So why not make it pink, to raise the awareness of breast cancer?” Dante said.

So he got out a pen and wrote a letter to none other than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And he made sure to firmly ask for an answer.

“Please write back, from Dante Cano,” he wrote as he concluded the letter.

His family in Marlboro, N.J., got a quick response – yes, the league would do it at this week’s Jets game, and his father said he was more excited than Dante.

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“I’m in the car, it’s like, ‘Dude do you understand what’s going on? This is so cool!'” said Dante’s father, Jose Cano, “and he’s in the car and he’s reading his nook, and I’m, like, on the phone calling people!”

Dante said watching his 14-year old sister has given him so much inspiration. Nikki suffers from Aicardi syndrome, and can’t walk or talk.

“Well, I want her to be normal; to be able to do things she can’t do now,” Dante said.

Dante’s younger sister, Daniella, was delighted her brother is being honored, but…

“I do feel jealous,” she said with a laugh. “He gets all the credit and I don’t!”

On Sunday at MetLife Stadium before the Jets game, Dante will personally present the pink penalty flags to the refs. Afterward, his family will stay and enjoy the game.

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What do you think of Dante’s efforts? Leave your comments below…