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Making Strides 2018

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, with more than 1 million passionate participants supporting the noncompetitive three-five mile walks each year.

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Real Men wear pink

American Cancer Society

By Rebekah Hedges

Clad in fluorescent pink ties, powder pink suit jackets and calf-high tickle-me-pink socks, more than 25 men from the Memphis area filled a cozy room of The Peabody Hotel on September 20 to kick off the “Real Men Wear Pink” 2018 campaign.

The Real Men plan to sport the pink hue every day in the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, not only to honor the memory of their loved ones who have either lost their lives, struggled or defeated the disease; but participate in a friendly fundraising competition through the American Cancer Society in order to support the cure.

Tracy Trotter, senior manager of community development for the American Cancer Society, said the 2018 Memphis Chapter of Real Men has some “pretty pink shoes to fill” as last year the Memphis chapter claimed the largest campaign in the state.

“You’re making a difference even by just wearing that pink tie”

Tracy Trotter

Real Men Wear Pink’s 2018 Chairman, Andrew Bettis, shared tips with the campaign men displaying an inspiring video he made that helped him achieve his financial goals for the cause the previous year.

“I’m going to be calling you guys up, even if it’s at 2 a.m. in the morning to encourage and get you guys going,”

Andrew Bettis

He said that upon beginning the campaign in 2017 he thought the task was daunting, but found that knowing your audience and using social media were the biggest aides in his fundraising.

“You’ll get out of it whatever you put into it and that’s with everything in life,” Bettis said, “Don’t delay because October flies by, but when you tell people October is Breast Cancer Awareness people will want to get on board.”

Andrew Bettis

Bettis said during his travels to Nashville and the beach he took signs reminding people of the cause and utilizing social media helped people continue to donate.

Three men shared their stories on how they “Make Strides Against Breast Cancer” with JustMyMemphis, each inspired by women in their lives who have been affected by the life-altering disease.

Randall Melton, in his third year with the campaign, said his “pink game is strong” was decked out with a pink tie and suit jacket.

“I love the reaction people get from my pink…it’s a gateway into conversation about what I’m doing and how I support the American Cancer Society,” Melton said.

Melton said that often fundraising can be intimidating and challenging, but he said he enjoys learning people’s stories along the way.

“I started talking about the cause and finding out that so many friends that I thought I knew have powerful stories,” he said. “Unfortunately I lost my mom to breast cancer..I think about how she never got the chance to meet her grandson and I don’t want that for anybody.”

He said is inspired to be one of the Real Men in memory of his mom and loves to see how many people that continue to be inspired by cancer survivors. Melton, with Kroger food stores, shared that during a company meeting he asked his staff to raise their hands if they knew someone affected by the disease and every hand was raised.

“A lot of these folks are so strong and I love seeing everyone come together and wear pink. It turns out that everybody knows somebody that is fighting,”

Randall Melton

Jim Hill, with Varsity Brands, said that during his college years at North Carolina State University, his cheerleading coach unfortunately lost her life to breast cancer.

“She is someone who’s memory has stuck with me for years…though it was a long time ago she was such a sweet sweet soul,” Hill said.

Hill said that she in turn became the team’s cheerleader and with her presence it “made it hard for us to complain” due to what she was going through.

“Even though she was going through her treatments every day she was still at practice. She had such a strong spirit,” Hill said. He said he is excited to wear pink and hopes to bring the cause to the forefront, “We need to funds to support the cause, it doesn’t just happen out of thin air,” he added.

Richard Ransom, anchor with Local 24 News, returned for a second year to the Real Men Wear Pink crew and said he’s excited for “the unique ways” that the campaign finds fun ways to generate funds.

 

“It’s such a worthwhile cause and the whole concept of having men wear pink will catch people’s attention. Anything they can do to promote and donate to this cause is perfect,”

Richard Ransom

He shared how both his grandmother and aunt have been affected by the disease. Ransom said he repetitively hears about the importance of prevention and hopes his wife continues to remain cancer-free.

Most husbands know the nervousness and worry, when you get back an abnormal result, but this cause touches us in a certain way. It affects you when you realize how common it is,” he said.

Ransom said he plans to give one of the men with the highest fundraising total, a tour of the Local 24 station as he is most excited to see the rivalry between the men to get the most donations for the cause.

 

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