October is Breast Cancer Month and several concerned men in Gwinnett are looking “pretty in pink” to show their support. They are doing it by joining efforts with Real Men Wear Pink to raise awareness and funds for the 2016 American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC).
One of the men is Lawrenceville’s Clyde Strickland whose wife Sandra Strickland is a survivor of breast cancer, as well as melanoma and cervical cancer.
“Sandra was 28 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer,” Clyde Strickland said. “Seven months later she lost her father to lung cancer and seven years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Both our families have been wiped out with cancer – my father and a brother to pancreatic cancer, another brother to lung cancer…my mother.”
Still, Strickland almost said no when asked to raise $25,000 for Men In Pink because he already gives a lot to the ACS. But his sons said, “We’ve got to do this for the family.” So he and his two sons, Michael and Kenneth and son-in-law Scooter Bullock are working together to raise, not just $25,000 but $50,000, which is Clyde Strickland’s personal goal.
As co-owners of Metro Wateproofing, Inc, the four decided that the company would match funds with employees’ gifts. In addition they are visiting each company they do work for in Gwinnett and asking them to do the same.
“Not one has said they wouldn’t do it,” Clyde Strickland said with a grin.
In addition to the Strickland Family, nine other distinguished community leaders in Metro Atlanta are Men in Pink participants, including Snellville’s former Georgia House Representative Melvin Everson, Hopewell Baptist’s Bishop William Shields, ACS CEO Gary Reedy and WSB’s Scott Slade, a long-time Relay For Life volunteer in Gwinnett.
Reedy, who already has raised more than $6,000, says he would participate even if he were not the ACS CEO because he has a wife and two daughters.
“I support the American Cancer Society because I know it is the best investment to create a world free from the pain and suffering of breast cancer,” he says. “Support through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer enables the Society to make sure no one facing breast cancer ever has to walk alone.”
This is the first year for a Real Men Wear Pink event to support the Atlanta MSABC, according to Celestine Hankerson, Senior Market Manager for Community Engagement in the ACS South Atlantic Division. “The event began two years ago in the Society’s Mid South Division and was very successful,” she said.
Hankerson explained that each of the men has been asked to raise $25,000.
“They are excited to achieve their goals and most will exceed that amount,” Hankerson said. “A reveal party was held on August 31 but prior to that date, it was a secret who had been chosen.” The men represent Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties. And, she added, it’s quite competitive.
“The winner will be announced at the Atlanta MSABC event at Piedmont Park on October 29,” she said.
With a total goal of $250,000, Hankerson and her MSABC committee are hoping that Real Men Wear Pink will help take the Atlanta MSABC event over the one million dollar mark. Last year they were a little short of that total, raising $946,000.
According to the ACS, other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
Other ACS stastics:
• The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8.
• The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 37.
• Breast cancer death rates have been going down, probably as a result of increased awareness about breast cancer with women (and men) finding the cancer earlier. In addition, better treatments are available due to research.
• Today, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
It’s not too late to participate in Making Strides. “All you have to do is form a team, raise funds and walk on October 29 to help raise awareness,” Hankerson stated. To get started, Google Making Strides Atlanta or click here if viewing electronically makingstrides.org. Once on the site you can register and become one of thousands in Metro Atlanta to join the ACS movement to end suffering from breast cancer.
“Put simply,” Reedy said, “I support the American Cancer Society because I believe we have never been closer to the cancer end game. And the Society is the organization to lead the way to achieving that goal.”
Clyde Strickland and his family agree. “We’ve been fighting cancer in our family for 47 years,” he stated. “We’re not stopping now.”
To learn more about breast cancer prevention, treatment, research and action the ACS is taking, go to www.cancer.org/breastcancer. To donate to one of the Real Men Wear Pink participants, Google MSABC Atlanta Men in Pink by October 28. Or for any of the above, call 1-800-277-2345 anytime – 24/7x365.