Historically, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) annual Making Strides Breast Cancer walk has been supported primarily by women. It makes sense. After all, according to the statistics, there will be approximately 41,400 deaths from breast cancer this year. Of that number, more than 40,000 women will die while less than 500 men will succumb to breast cancer.
But the winds of change – they do blow. A radical movement is taking hold. Triangle men touched by breast cancer, either through a loved one or a personal diagnosis, are rising up and demanding to be counted as all-in – asserting their role as gallant warriors in the fight against breast cancer. They call their movement Real Men Wear Pink of the Triangle and to date, these men, committed to wearing pink for a period of 30 days, have raised more than $46,000 to support this year’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
“Breast cancer affects everyone – women and men,” said Tracey Smith, who organizes the yearly walk. “That’s why we got serious about recruiting men to the cause. This year's Real Men Wear Pink of The Triangle represents a group of community leaders doing their part to support the American Cancer Society’s mission to save more lives from breast cancer.”
Refusing to be left out, Duke breast oncologists P. Kelly Marcom, MD, and Jeremy Force, DO, have joined the movement – enlisting in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign and reaching out to their contacts for support.
“I’m delighted to join the ranks of a distinguished group of change agents,” said Force, who as a teen helped see a sibling through a cancer journey that resulted in his decision to pursue a career in medicine. “As a cancer specialist I know firsthand the effects of breast cancer. I’m here to do my what I can to continue to raise awareness and funds that can lead to better treatments and possibly cures.”
The American Cancer Society funds breast cancer research nationwide, including research at Duke. The society on average provides more than $8 million in research grants at Duke each year.
“These research grants are critical,” Marcom said. “They enable our investigators to pursue high-reward discoveries and expand their pioneering work in breast cancer research. Through the support of the American Cancer Society we, and other researchers across the nation, are able to take a road less traveled in research. A road leading to astonishing breakthroughs in breast cancer research and care.”
This year’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign is captained by Oliver Schabenberger, executive vice president and chief operating officer at SAS. The 25-member team hopes to surpass their goal of $75,000. Each participant is vying to raise the most to support beast cancer research. The Real Men Wear Pink fundraising campaign ends in December. For more information or to donate to the campaign, visit Real Men Wear Pink. To support P. Kelly Marcom, MD, please visit main.acsevents.org/goto/kellymarcom. To help Jeremy Force, MD, in his fundraising, please visit main.acsevents.org/goto/jeremyforce.
Circle photo above: Jeremy Force, DO, poses in pink at the Aug. 30 Real Men Wear Pink kick-off reception, which was held at the Ingram Porche Collection in Durham, North Carolina.