A couple of months ago, my niece, Jen Gruber, asked me if I would be willing to be part of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
“You have to wear pink every day in October,” she said.
“Sure,” I said, thinking I have a pink shirt, October is 31 days long and I like to do laundry.
Jen, who works for the American Cancer Society and does a great job, didn’t mention (or at least I don’t remember her mentioning) that participants in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign had to raise money — $2,500 is the goal.
Had I known about raising the $2,500, I would have gladly signed on anyway.
Why wouldn’t I?
I'm like most people. Cancer has affected my life immensely. I'm a cancer survivor. My wife is a breast cancer survivor. Five of my six siblings have had cancer. Four of the five survived. Doubtlessly, without the American Cancer Society, fewer would have survived.
My sister-in-law and her son are simultaneously fighting cancer. Two friends are in battles as well. As a survivor, I can tell you becoming one is a battle. It's been 20 years since I had Hodgkin’s Disease, but the memories of sitting in a waiting room with other in the throes of their battle remain fresh. I’m sure many of them weren’t as lucky.
I’ve covered sports for a living. The term “courageous” is tossed around too often in describing athletics. You want to see courage? Look into the eyes of someone with three or four kids taking radical treatment to try to beat this awful disease.
If the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign can move the needle just a tad in the battle against breast cancer and cancer in general — and it will — it will be one of most worthwhile things I’ve ever done.
9 On Your Side meteorologist Jason Adams is also participating in the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. His story is a compelling one as well.
"My Mom is a breast cancer survivor," Jason writes on his fundraising page. "We found out she had Stage 1 breast cancer two days before Mother's Day. Since it was stage 1, we weren't terribly concerned. They'd remove it, she'd be fine, life would resume as normal. No. Not the case. Cancer doesn't follow protocol. It does what it wants."
Thanks in advance for donating. I hope to use social media for good in the campaign, so stayed tuned to Twitter and Facebook.
John Fay is freelance sports columnist. This column represents his opinion.