Men in the Tacoma, Olympia and Gig Harbor area are showing their support for women’s health and breast cancer awareness by participating in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign this October.
“The idea is that male leaders in the community commit to wearing pink clothing every day of the month. There are 32 of us participating and competing to raise the most money for a worthwhile cause and have fun doing it,” said Joe Toner, vice chair of the Pierce County American Cancer Society (ACS) Board.
This is the second year that the Pierce County branch of the ACS is encouraging community members to participate and donate to Real Men Wear Pink. Last year the campaign raised $25,000 throughout the month of October.
Toner expressed the goal for this year’s campaign is to double that amount.
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The revenue generated from Real Men Wear Pink will serve ACS programs such as Looking Good, Feel Better, which helps women undergoing cancer treatment maintain a positive body image, Road to Recovery, which assists with transportation that cancer patients might need to get to and from treatment and doctors offices and Patient Lodging, which reduces the cost cancer patients and their families might have to pay to stay in hotels closer to hospitals and treatment facilities.
Besides being vice chair of the Pierce County ACS Board, the Tacoma-based commercial real estate developer is contributing to the campaign by wearing a bright pink suit every day to work and around Tacoma.
Toner decided on the bright pink suit after first deciding to support Mr. Mac, a business known for its selection of colored suits and importance to the Hilltop community of Tacoma.
“The stories you hear about Mr. Max and the owner, who sadly passed away, are unreal,” said Toner. “He would donate suits to young men who didn’t have anything nice to wear for a job interview. Mr. Max continues to meet the needs of community members. Those are the kind of people I want to support.”
And the Real Men Wear Pink campaign was the perfect opportunity for Toner to do just that.
“I walked in and asked for an all pink suit. The employee working said he had just the thing for me. He pulled this bright pink suit off of one of the racks, I tried it on and it fit like a glove,” said Toner. “It was meant to be.”
The pink suit has helped Toner reach the 6th-place spot for the amount of money raised among this year’s participants.
Gig Harbor’s NetShed No. 9 chef and Toner’s brother-in-law, Will Rieck, is also participating in Real Wear Men Wear Pink this month.
“Joe told me about the campaign one night at dinner. A lot of important people in my life have been affected by cancer, including my aunt who lost her battle with cancer last year. I wanted to get involved to do something positive and proactive,” Rieck said.
Rieck may not have a bright pink suit, but you can find him sporting a number of pink shirts, a pink apron, or pink bandana in the kitchen of Netshed No. 9.
“Real Men Wear Pink is an important way for men to show that they care about women’s health, and it seems to be working,” he said.
Supporting breast cancer awareness and research is nothing new to Rieck and Netshed No. 9. Since the restaurant’s opening over four and a half years ago, it donates a dollar to the ACS and breast cancer research for every frittata dish ordered.
Both Toner and Rieck admit to being surprised by how many high fives they’ve received and how many meaningful conversations their pink attire has sparked.
“Whether its people asking why I’m wearing pink to someone telling me they’re a survivor and support what I’m doing, the response has been great,” said Rieck.
This is precisely the goal of Real Men Wear Pink and is just one way the South Sound community is contributing to the ACS and their goal of celebrating lives, saving lives, and moving towards a world without cancer.
You can still catch Toner, Rieck, and all of the other participants in their pink outfits until the month is over. Those interested in supporting the Real Men Wear Pink campaign can donate and learn more about it at their website http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer/MSABCCY17GW?pg=entry&fr_id=85062.