Former NFL player and cancer survivor receives Gilda Radner Courage Award

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) Former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, whose life was the subject of the 2006 Disney movie “Invincible” starring Mark Wahlberg, was honored Saturday night for his courage and dedication in the fight against cancer.

Papale received the Gilda Radner Courage Award during the Roswell Park Alliance 24th Anniversary All Star Night at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to benefit research and patient programs at the cancer institute.

The Courage Award, named for the comedian and actress who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, recognizes a cancer survivor whose courageous public battle has given hope to people with cancer and focused public attention on the fight against cancer.

The former Philadelphia Eagle running back was diagnosed with colon cancer 13 years ago during a routine colonoscopy. He says he had surgery, but no radiation or chemotherapy, and has been cancer-free ever since. He is a frequent public speaker now advocating cancer screening and urging people to get checkups and colonoscopies.

Papale tells News 4 it is amazing when people come up to him and say: “You saved my life!” He says these people have had colonoscopies after seeing him speak about the importance of getting tested for colon cancer.

Papale gained fame as a 30 year old walk-on selected for the Philadelphia Eagles by head coach Dick Vermeil. Papale went on to play three seasons for the Eagles from 1976 to 1978. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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