Throughout the Broncos locker room, there are dozens of players that seem to participate in virtually every community event, constantly helping out the Denver area off the field.
In 2012, guard Zane Beadles stood out, and he has been recognized as the Broncos’ 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Beadles has been involved in a number of initiatives, most notably spearheading a program the offensive line has continued for multiple seasons — Cakes for Cancer — which donates $250 to Brent’s Place for every pancake block the line makes.
Beadles’ inspiration for the program came while playing at the University of Utah, when he met a 7-year-old boy named Ryker, who was stricken with Glioblastoma Multiforme cancer.
The Utes adopted Ryker as a member of the team, but about a year later, he lost his battle with cancer.
“I knew I wanted to do something with cancer and something with kids,” Beadles said. “I just looked around the area and found Brent’s Place. I learned about them and what they do and it seemed like a perfect fit. That’s how it kind of came about.”
Brent’s Place operates two hospital hospitality houses — one near Denver’s Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital with six apartments primarily for adults with cancer and their families, and one adjacent to Aurora’s Anschutz Medical Campus with 16 apartments primarily for children with cancer and their families.
The program is important to Beadles, whose family has also been affected by cancer.
This season, Beadles hosted a Cakes for Cancer Pancake Breakfast to help raise further funds.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “The offensive line, we do everything together anyway — that’s the whole thing with us. So something that we could do for charity and kind of incorporate everybody in the room was definitely something I wanted to do. It’s been successful so far.”
Beadles has also helped introduce local youth to the world of engineering by speaking multiple times at the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists Technical Resource Center.
As a graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in mechanical engineering, Beadles was able to give the group of students first-hand advice on how to succeed in both academics and athletics.
“A lot of people and a lot of kids think you can’t do both athletics and academics,” Beadles said before the program. “While it was difficult going through college, if you really put your mind to it, you can do it. It’s no problem. Kids being able to see that, I think is a good thing because obviously they are interested in sports and things like that, but they can also realize that they can focus on their academics as well.”
In addition, Beadles participated in this year’s Movember initiative, growing a mustache during the month of November to help raise awareness for men’s health issues.
As part of the honor, the Broncos will make a $10,000 donation in Beadles’ name to the cause of his choice.