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Real Yoopers wear pink

Fundraising campaign for American Cancer Society to be held during Breast Cancer Awareness month

MARQUETTE — Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, with over 240,000 people diagnosed each year and over 40,000 deaths annually.

In the Upper Peninsula, the American Cancer Society reported an average of 228 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year between 2012 and 2016, meaning it’s likely many Yoopers have a family member, friend, neighbor or coworker who has been impacted by breast cancer.

With Breast Cancer Awareness month coming up in October, the Real Yoopers Wear Pink Campaign by the American Cancer Society is giving Yoopers an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer initiatives. Several candidates will spearhead fundraising efforts and a Paint the Town Pink community-wide establishment crawl will be held Oct. 12.

“Cancer does not discriminate. It pays no attention to age, or race, or gender, and there is hardly a life that hasn’t been touched by cancer. By getting involved as a Real Yooper Candidate, or supporting those Yoopers who have accepted the calling, you are joining the fight for a world without cancer,” Amy Anderson, North Central Region Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society, said in an email. “Every dollar counts. This is not just about raising funds, it is about raising awareness, about supporting those affected by cancer, and about remembering those we have lost.”

Raising awareness and funds through campaigns like this can make a big difference, she said, as it can support ACS breast cancer research grants, free lodging and rides to treatment for patients, and much more.

“Because of the efforts of ACS that number (of deaths from breast cancer) has dropped drastically from what it was in the past, and it is also now one of the most detectable and curable cancers out there,” Anderson said.

The Real Yoopers Wear Pink campaign is part of the national ACS fundraising campaign, Real Men Wear Pink, but, “because we are super humans in the U.P., we have our own event that is all inclusive,” Anderson said.

“We developed this campaign to give communities the opportunity to nominate local leaders to spearhead fundraising for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer initiatives,” she said.

The campaign, which runs Oct. 1 to 31, features a number of Real Yoopers Wear Pink candidates who will raise funds and awareness through events and parties, workplace initiatives, social media campaigns, and much more. The candidates will officially be announced next Tuesday, she said.

“It takes very special rock stars in the community to pull it off,” Anderson said. “Each candidate commits to raising $2,500 for the month of October, and wearing pink for the entire month. How they raise it is up to them. Whatever makes them happy; they can turn into their own unique fundraiser.”

Last year was the first year of the Real Yoopers Wear Pink campaign, she said, with seven candidates raising over $25,000 for the cause. This year, the campaign is aiming to raise $50,000.

“I want to put the U.P. on the map. I want the rest of the Real Men Wear Pink campaigns to notice us, to see what we can do when we come together for a cause, and to celebrate life with us,” Anderson said. “We are in this battle together.”

For area establishments that want raise funds and awareness for the cause in their own unique way, the Paint the Town Pink community-wide establishment crawl will be held Oct. 12, she said.

For example, participating businesses can have a costume contest, serve a special drink or dish, host music or anything else they may dream up to raise fund and awareness, she said. Businesses are encouraged to sign up by Monday, Anderson said.

“If I have missed anyone in my letters, calls or emails, please reach out to me. The more the merrier. Some establishments are selling donation cards for the whole month, and some are having pink events the night of,” Anderson said. “As soon as I have a list compiled, I will publish it on our Facebook and website for Real Yoopers Wear Pink. Please go out and support those businesses that have joined in the effort to raise awareness and take part in the fight for a world without cancer.”

For area residents who want to help, there are many ways to do so.

“I would like to have as many people join in the fun as possible. Share your photos with me on Facebook of you donning your best pink. Go out and support the businesses involved,” Anderson said. “If you think you have it in you to raise money but you can’t commit to a whole month, join up with one of our amazing Real Yoopers and hold an event for them. Have a golf outing or a bike ride. Hold your own private dinner party and donate to the cause. Convince someone that you will sing a Pink Song during karaoke for a donation. Just support those who battle and those who have lost the battle. And by all means have fun doing it!”

Anderson also wants Yoopers to know about the wide variety of resources provided by ACS.

“We have the ability to do unique things like provide a 24-hour help line for everything from resources to a shoulder to cry on,” she said. “We support our local schools and heath care professionals with resources and education and we advocate for legislation to support research funding.”

It’s important to recognize that every little bit helps, Anderson said, as “with the support of volunteers, donors and partners, we can attack cancer at all angles.”

For more information and updates, visit the Real Yoopers Wear Pink Facebook page or https://secure.acsevents.org/site/TR/ACTIVEFundraising/CFPCY19NCR?pg=entry&fr_id=95065

Businesses that would like to participate in the Paint the Town Pink event can email amy.anderson@ cancer.org, message the event Facebook page, or call 906-281-4611.

Participating businesses are encouraged to sign-up by Monday.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.