Colts' captain takes 'think pink' to heart

Updated: October 15, 2009, 6:07 PM ET
By Ethan B. Szatmary | Contributor to ESPNDallas.com

GARLAND, Texas -- Garland High School teacher Melanie Hensleigh-Parsons was tickled pink Thursday morning after a visit from Indianapolis Colts defensive back and team captain Melvin Bullitt.

Hensleigh-Parsons has been battling breast cancer. Inspired by her fight, the school raised $5,000 for breast cancer research. That led to vice principals Atticus Wisener and Don Merkel shaving their heads, as they had pledged to do if the Owls could round up at least $1,000.

Bullitt, who graduated from rival Naaman Forest in 2003, didn't give up his hair, but he did present Hensleigh-Parsons with the pink gloves he wore in the Colts' 31-9 win over Tennessee on Sunday, part of an NFL program to raise cancer awareness.

"She was excited, and I was excited as well," Bullitt said. "It made my day that I could do just a little something to help her out. I'm pretty sure she appreciated it."

She did.

"I was pretty tickled," Hensleigh-Parsons said.

Bullitt's father, Jerry, used to work at Garland High School, and he brought Hensleigh-Parsons' battle to his son's attention. Melvin Bullitt came home during the Colts' bye week and brought the gloves to Garland.

Hensleigh-Parsons immediately put them on at her desk, making a matching ensemble with her pink do-rag.

The teacher, who has been doing office work while undergoing treatment, was surprised by Bullitt's arrival, but was not shocked by the gesture. She knows the Bullitts all too well.

"His daddy is a sweet man. He took the pictures at my wedding, and Melvin is [sweet], too," Hensleigh-Parsons said. "That was such a sweet thing to do."

The younger Bullitt, a Texas A&M product, has been excelling on the field in his third season with the Colts. He has 22 tackles and a forced fumble while starting at safety.

During the nationally televised pregame introductions Sunday, he and defensive back Jacob Lacey both identified Naaman Forest High School as their alma mater, thrilling the school and its fans.

Ethan B. Szatmary covers east Metroplex high schools for ESPNDallas.com. Ethan covered colleges and high schools for the Denton Record-Chronicle for eight years and graduated from Emory University.