The 'Why' Behind It
In 2023, it is expected that 1,958,310 new cancer cases and 609,820 cancer deaths will occur in the United States. Among those patients, 240,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 42,000 women will die from the disease.
However, due to the work of the American Cancer Society and others, substantial progress is being made to reduce cancer mortality. Since 1991, cancer prevention measures and screenings have helped reduce deaths associated with cancer by 33%, averting an estimated 3.8 million cancer deaths.
In 2020, research showed that breast cancer death rates had declined by 43% since 1989. The American Cancer Society continues to lead the fight against cancer in the 21st century, and its commitment to creating a future free from cancer runs deep. That’s why it engages campaign ambassadors across the nation to step up and use the power of wearing pink to raise funds and draw attention to the breast cancer fight.
Since 2015, more than $890,000 has been raised locally through the Real Men Wear Pink fundraising event, and every dollar has helped the American Cancer Society save more lives.
What follows are this year’s Real Men Wear Pink ambassadors and their personal stories, which have led them to give their time and talent to raise much-needed funds for the fight against cancer.
The American Cancer Society continues to lead the fight against breast cancer in the 21st century, and its commitment to creating a future free from breast cancer runs deep. That’s why it engages campaign ambassadors across the nation to step up and use the power of wearing pink to raise funds and draw attention to the breast cancer fight.
President & CEO, Parkridge Health System
I work in healthcare and get to see the devastating effects cancer causes on families. I had family members and friends who have lost battles with cancer. There is nothing good about cancer, and I want to help raise money to find a cure. Together, we can fight to help find that cure one day!
President & CEO, MayCreate Real Men Wear Pink 2023 Chair
I am donating my time and resources to Real Men Wear Pink because Erin, my wife, has breast cancer; this also means that WE have cancer. Erin and I started our lives together over 20 years ago, living and working side-by-side almost every day. We share in everything, and that includes this cancer battle. Since her diagnosis one year ago and our first visit to Vanderbilt, we’ve seen firsthand the developments in medication and treatment plans that allow doctors to target cancer and stop growth. Because of research, trials, and newly approved medications rapidly hitting the market, patients are living longer with hopes of a cure for this dreaded disease looking better every day. The hope we have is due in no small part to the research funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS). Chances are you know someone who has been affected by cancer. For us, it’s something we live with every day.
Will you follow us in donating to ACS to help find a cure for Erin and so many other wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, children, friends, and loved ones affected by cancer?
General Manager, Reagan Outdoor Advertising
In 2020, COVID-19 had many people confined to their homes for most of the year, especially those over the age of 70. It was in the spring of 2020 that my fiancée’s mom was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Being the strong-willed, independent woman she was, she never wanted anyone to worry so she chose to face that journey on her own, making the decision to receive little to no treatment. With our inability to see her for quite some time, she was successful in keeping her diagnosis and its severity a secret until it was too late for anything to be done to help her. On September 25, 2021, Shelley lost her mom. Shelley’s dad lost his wife. Shelley’s kids lost their Nana. I will wear pink for Christina Hickman. Every day, the American Cancer Society is saving more lives from breast cancer than ever before. They’re helping people take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early when it’s easier to treat.
They provide free information and services when and where people need it. They fund groundbreaking breast cancer research, and they’re working to ensure access to mammograms for women who need them.
President & CEO, Erlanger Health
Both my father and grandfather passed away from variations of cancer, and my wife has lost two family members of her own directly from breast cancer. I’m now the father of two young girls, both blessings that put this life and what the future holds into perspective. The goal of my campaign is to bring awareness to this terrible disease in hopes that it will someday prevent my daughters and their generation from experiencing the same loss that my generation has.
Retired USAF Sergeant, United States Air Force
As a retired Air Force veteran, my desire is to help and protect. If I have the opportunity to help my community, why wouldn’t I? If I have the ability to help someone, then I want to do it, and chances are, we all know someone affected by cancer. My grandfather died of brain cancer, my mother had skin cancer, and sadly, my wife lost her 6-year-old nephew to cancer. This is why I am stepping up and using the power of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign to draw attention to the breast cancer fight. I have committed to raising a minimum of $10,000 toward fighting breast cancer. Whether the money goes to providing transportation to clinical help or to drug research, whether it’s here at home in Chattanooga or elsewhere – it all matters. If I have the ability to make a small difference, I’m in.
Owner, Huck & Peck Furniture
Cancer affects us all at some point in our lives. When the opportunity to participate in Real Men Wear Pink was presented to me by my good friends, Brian and Erin May, I was honored. I took a minute to inventory my life and how it has been touched by cancer. My grandfather, Huck Broyles, died of a brain tumor at the age of 60, only five weeks after his diagnosis. His cancer would be operable (although not curable) today due to years of research and advances in medicine thanks to the American Cancer Society. About 20 years ago, my aunt died of ovarian cancer, a cancer that is especially deadly even today. In recent years, our company has lost a dear employee to cancer, we have a survivor on our team, and a current employee is being treated for cancer. We still need more research. Please help us raise money for the research into new treatments and procedures that give families hope, strength, and above all, added priceless time with their loved ones.
Dr. Richard M. Tanner
General/Breast Surgeon, University Surgical Associates
Fundraising campaigns such as Real Men Wear Pink provide invaluable resources to help us fight breast cancer. These funds fuel research that leads to earlier detection through screening and many breakthroughs in treatment, both of which are contributing to significantly higher survival rates. I am a breast cancer surgeon, so this terrible disease affects me daily. It is my honor to help patients navigate through some of the most difficult times of their lives. I’m privileged to play a role in diagnosing and treating cancer, offering supportive care to patients and their families, and providing long-term follow-up and surveillance. My patients become my family, and I wear pink for them.
Property Manager, Evernest
When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in Real Men Wear Pink the first thought that came to mind was, “It’s a no-brainer.” How could I say no? Safe to say almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way – whether it be an immediate family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, or a friend of a friend. My grandmother and mother-in-law are both cancer survivors, and they both faced it with much bravery. Two of the toughest individuals I know! The main reason each of them was able to survive the cancer they faced is related to all the research that has been done in cancer care. But there is still a lot more that needs to be done to help cancer patients live longer. That’s why the American Cancer Society is so important. The funds raised from ACS events go toward research to help find new and better ways to beat cancer.
Owner & Certified Master Inspector, Absolute Inspectors, LLC (Retired USAF)
For me, being named a Real Men Wear Pink ambassador is personal. Who among us doesn’t know someone (friends, family members, or even ourselves) who has been impacted by cancer? I know I do, personally, I have been under an oncologist’s care for more than a decade now. My mother had basal cell carcinoma, I have friends who have been diagnosed with different forms of cancer, and a very close friend passed from ovarian cancer two years ago. While it seems like we hear about these stories and the need to “beat cancer,” the truth is we still need funds to make cancer a thing of the past. That’s why I’m raising money, on a personal level, on a business level, and on an impact level. You can count on the American Cancer Society to be good stewards of the donations you entrust us with, and you can know that your donations can have an impact on advancing the mission of “beating cancer.” Let’s make it personal.
Managing Partner/CPA, HHM CPAs - Cleveland
In 2016, I lost my father to cancer. I helped care for him as he walked through his battle and having firsthand experience makes you change how you look at this evil disease. Cancer sucks and there is no way around it. October is a special month as it focuses solely on breast cancer. While I have no direct experience with breast cancer, I stand up and serve to bring awareness but also to raise funds to fight the disease for all men and women experiencing it’s impact. I hope my efforts help bring an end to breast cancer through research and studies so no other woman (or man) must fight this disease.
Head Football Coach, Boyd-Buchanan School
Breast cancer affects one in eight women. Over the years as a head football coach, I have seen the firsthand devastating effect on my players and their families. Football at its core is rooted in faith and family, and that’s why I am committed to fighting this disease by raising funds to support needed research and breast cancer awareness so that my grandchildren’s generation sees a world where breast cancer is a chronic condition and not a life-threatening illness.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
First, I am honored to support the American Cancer Society and to be a part of an amazing campaign such as Real Men Wear Pink. Furthering breast cancer awareness and research is something that can have a positive impact on so many individuals. The cause is very personal for my family as my wife, Shari, was diagnosed with and fought breast cancer in 2018. She, like so many others, faced it head-on and had amazing doctors and nurses to help her along the way. As a family, we will do whatever we can to help spread the word and raise money for this important cause. Our hope is to help individuals and families impacted by breast cancer through the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. Please join us in this endeavor by donating to ASC. Any amount is appreciated. Thank you for your support!
C. Mark Warren
Lawyer and Owner, Warren & Griffin, P.C.
My wife is a bladder cancer survivor. In 2015, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer and if not for research in cancer cell immunotherapy funded by the American Cancer Society, she would not be alive today.
Department Manager, Burns & McDonnell
My ‘why’ is simply stated. In my extended family and my wife’s immediate family, we both have had some wins and losses, and I if can do something to help someone else not to have to deal with these challenges, it’s all worth it.
General Manager, The Westin Chattanooga
Why? It is very simple. I am obligated to. I am obligated to do my part no matter how large or small that may be or how large or small the platform may be. I am obligated to remain by my wife’s side for as long as we both walk this planet. I am obligated to walk my daughter down the aisle, and I am obligated to hold my grandchildren – so simply put, that is why.
Founder, LSR Business Advisory and Services
My family and close friends have been and are affected by various forms of cancer including ovarian cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, skin cancer, and multiple myeloma. I have heard and experienced so many life-altering stories in the past two years where cancer has taken loved ones. The blessing is that there are many survivors as well thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society. Since I’m able to make a difference within my community, I believe I have an obligation to do so. By raising money and awareness through Real Men Wear Pink, we can collectively provide needed resources for research and patient resources for everyone.