Robert Kraft, like many around the world, had his life impacted by cancer in 2011 as his wife Myra succumbed to the disease last summer. Kraft's involvement with awareness and research of the disease has persisted, though, and he's now being honored for his commitment.
The NFL Players Association named Kraft as the inaugural recipient of the Georgetown Lombardi Award, which honors a leader in sports whose life has been afflicted by cancer and encourages research, treatment and awareness of the disease.
After Myra's death just ahead of last season, Kraft and the Patriots dedicated their 2011 campaign to her memory, wearing "MHK" patches on the upper-left corner of their jerseys.
Kraft, who has owned the New England Patriots since 1994, will be presented with the award on Nov. 3 at the 26th annual Lombardi Gala in Washington D.C.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, serving as the honorary chair of the Gala for a third consecutive year, explained why Kraft would receive the first-ever honor.
"Like many of us in the NFL community, Mr. Kraft has been personally affected by cancer," Smith said in a release from the NFLPA. "Despite his loss, Mr. Kraft has continued to be a leader on cancer awareness, research and treatment. We are thrilled to honor his achievements and dedication to fighting cancer on this special night."
The award is named for legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated for cancer at the Georgetown University Hospital before losing his battle with the disease in 1970. The expansive cancer center is named in his honor.