October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While most people associate breast cancer with affecting women, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019, “2,670 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men, and about 500 men will die from breast cancer.” So, it seems fitting that a local group of 15 community leaders are participating in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
The Real Men Wear Pink campaign began in Owensboro in 2015, according to Anna Way, senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society. Last year the goal Way set for this campaign was $45,000 and the 10 men who participated raised over $47,500. This year Way set the goal at $50,000.
These “Real Men” hail from all types of local businesses, including service industries, funeral homes, banks and law enforcement. Major Barry Smith, Chief Deputy of the Daviess County Sherriff’s Office first noticed the Real Men campaign last year. He saw it as “a great cause to bring awareness to breast cancer and to encourage people to do preventative care for early detection.” He is selling badges just like those members of the Sherriff’s department wear on their shirts, but in a pink design.
In October, Smith will auction off a handmade cancer survivor’s quilt through a raffle. This will not be the only activity in which the Real Men will be participating. Many are planning cookouts, selling t-shirts and holding a pageant at the RiverPark Center on Oct. 20.
Rich Miller, licensed funeral director for Glenn Funeral Home, is also participating in the fundraiser. In the four years, Miller has worked at this job, he has watched many families be affected by cancer and has been inspired by co-workers who have worked to raise funds for the same cause.
“In the past, I have been interested in being involved, so I am honored I was chosen to represent Glenn Funeral Home,” he said. “This is a very humbling thing to do.”
In addition to the Real Men Wear Pink initiative, the local American Cancer Society will be holding their Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 27. Way encourages teams to sign up now.
“We are registering teams now,” she said. “We would love to see some businesses involved.”
The American Cancer Society website says, “Every dollar raised helps save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research and patient support.”
Way adds that besides grants to pay for research, the funds also cover programs like Road to Recovery, a team of volunteers who drive patients to their treatments, and Hope Lodges, where patients stay free if they are facing long-term treatment away from home.
For those interested in donating to any of the candidates in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, visit their website. To enter a team in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk, visit the event website.
For any additional questions or to volunteer to help, please contact Anna Way at 270-993-1335.