Pink is in the air this month, as dozens of local men sport the color every day in October in support of breast cancer awareness. Members of the Real Men Wear Pink Ventura County campaign for the American Cancer Society join thousands of men throughout the country who have stepped up to help raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
Local participants include healthcare professionals and business owners, many of whom have been personally affected by breast cancer, like Ben Malkin, publisher of Conejo Valley Lifestyle and Malibu to Palisades Lifestyle magazines.
“This ongoing battle is very close to my heart since I lost my 47-year-old mother to breast cancer and I continue to support my soulmate and partner, Robin Chesler, as she finishes her fourth year as a breast cancer survivor,” shares Malkin.
Participant Josh Damigo, of Influence Ecology, watched his best friend and grandmother overcome breast cancer.
“That’s why I’m participating in Real Men Wear Pink and I am looking forward to representing Ventura County in supporting women and men who are currently battling breast cancer. I don’t think I look good in pink, but I’m willing to put it on every day in October to bring awareness to their fight!” says Damigo, who teamed up with Allstate agent Paul Hardy and dentist Ron Atanay of Sunset Dental to form the 3 Pink Musketeers in support of the cause.
Held in conjunction with the Making Strides annual breast cancer walk (Oct. 6), the Real Men Wear Pink campaign asks volunteers to raise a minimum of $2,500, wear pink each day in October and generate awareness through social media.
“If all you can do is wear pink and raise $2,500, we really, really appreciate that support,” says Eric Knight, Senior Development Manager for the American Cancer Society, noting the plentiful resources provided to volunteers. “Participants are supplied with their own fundraising page, fundraising dashboard, email and social media templates—we make it really, really easy.”
Additional community volunteers include Sergeant Jeff McGreevy of the Oxnard Police Dept., Pizza Man Dan and Dr. Shawn Steen, a surgeon at Ventura County Medical Center.
“As a local cancer surgeon, I see the American Cancer Society helping cancer patients every day. It’s my honor to show support for the ACS as well as men and women facing breast cancer by being part of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign,” says Dr. Steen.
While an estimated 240,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, breast cancer death rates have declined by 36% since 1989, says ACS CEO Gary Reedy.
“The stronger we grow in numbers, the faster the cures come. If it's one or two individuals, or $1 or $2, it is making a difference,” says Pink Musketeer Dentist Ronald Atanay, of Sunset Dental.
To join the campaign, make a donation or find out more, visit RealMenWearPinkACS.org or contact Eric Knight at 805.644.4237.