Notre Dame, Ind. Paqui Kelly is leading by example.
The wife of the Notre Dame Football coach is a 2-time breast cancer survivor and at her annual Football 101 event to help raise awareness to fight the deadly disease, Paqui showed off some football skills of her own.
The event was again a sellout as 600 women from all over the area gathered at Notre Dame Stadium to learn about football the Irish way with players and coaches working as instructors.
But Paqui proved to be one of the best participants as she lined up and booted a 25 yard field goal during one of the many drills setup on the Irish practice fields. That received a huge ovation.
It was fitting for Paqui--who was all about celebrating. Paqui has defeated cancer two times and this was her first football 101 event being cancer free for five years.
"every day is truly a present," Paqui explained. "I'm so pleased to be here. I'm glad i'm getting old is what I say. I will look forward to every day forthcoming and all that God has given me every day. Every day I'm so glad to be here to share with people and hopefully we're going to stomp this thing out--this cancer. In my lifetime, that's one of my wishes."
Kelly says many of the women attending are celebrating beating cancer too. It's become a yearly tradition and that's something she's proud of. She gives a ton of credit to all the ND assistant coaches and players who run the drills.
"This thing would not go on without the whole team," Paqui says. "They are a very vital part of it. They are very enthusiastic. They love to take part in this."
Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco looked like he was in mid season form as he ran the ladies through some drills.
"Defense on 2. 1... 2... Defense!" Diaco and the ladies yelled out in a team huddle.
Plenty of Irish players like quarterbacks Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire along with defensive standouts Matthias Farley, Louis Nix and Carlo Calabrese were among those that served as instructors.
Over the past three years combined, over $220,000 has been raised to aid breast cancer awareness and prevention through the Kelly Cares Foundation. This year, their goal is to raise $150,000.
Irish coach Brian Kelly was not at today's event. He's actually visiting Patriots camp today with his good friend Bill Belichick.