Real Men Wear Pink enlists men to help raise awareness, funds

Three of the men thinking pink to raise breast cancer awareness for Real Men Wear Pink
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- One man keeps tabs on south jersey's business community....

One is an I-T executive...

And one is a Big 5 basketball legend, with 13 trips to post-season tourneys.

But they're all part of the American Cancer Society's 'Real Men Wear Pink' - raising awareness and money to save more lives.

Pink is a strong color - and the color of strength and unity in fighting breast cancer.

This month, you'll see more men wearing it, too, in that growing campaign to help everyone 'beat the odds of breast cancer.'

Aaron Andrews of RCN Business was first invited to take part last year -

"The answer was yes immediately," Andrews said with a smile.

"It wasn't even a response that i really needed to thin about."

Andrews hopes his pink attire will get everyone thinking of the quarter million new cases diagnosed every year - and not just in women.

"Nearly 25-hundred men are affected by that every year," he notes.

For Les Vail, of the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce, there's a personal element to being in the Real Men campaign.

"My wife is a breast cancer survivor, and she's almost - it'll be 6 years cancer-free in February," Vail says proudly.

He says he was surprised to see so many familiar faces - friends, neighbors, business acquaintances - while going to treatments and appointments with his wife.

"You never know who in your circle is fighting this fight," he notes.

So he's happy to wear pink, and get the conversation started, enlisting others in the campaign.

St. Joe's basketball coach Phil Martelli has always been part of the Coaches Versus Cancer effort, but joined the Real Men drive, to remind other men -

"All of us have a woman or women in our lives who have raised us, and supported us, and loved us, and allowed us to be where we are today," Martelli emphasizes.

Whether men wear pink, too, or make a donation, he says it tells women they aren't alone.

"We as men are obligated to stand with you," he adds.

Martelli says a prime inspiration for his part in cancer campaigns comes from a letter on his desk, buried under basketball scouting reports and stat sheets.

A woman wrote, thanking everybody who'd given even a dollar to the Coaches vs. Cancer or ACS campaigns.

"Because we allowed her to smell the grass being cut, we allowed her to see snowfall, we allowed her to walk her dog, and we allowed her to hug and play with her grandchildren one more day," the coach recalls.

He says he's all-in, "until I can get no letters like like that or hear no stories like that."

To see the Real Men Wear Pink of Philadelphia or make a pledge, click here..

For the Real Men Wear Pink of South Jersey, click here.
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