Real men are wearing pink this month in Santa Maria.
“It’s breast cancer awareness month and our campaign is Real Men Wear Pink, so it’s 31 days of wearing pink and here we are,” said Jaime Flores, who is participating in the event.
The Real Men Wear Pink campaign is part of the American Cancer Society’s national effort to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.
The event coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For the first time, the local American Cancer Society chapter decided to start a local Real Men Wear Pink event in Santa Maria.
“In Santa Maria, we have some real fun guys who are very notable and go to all these functions and we thought as an awareness campaign, we’d get them dressed in pink to wear a nice pink color all month long,” said American Cancer Society spokesman Tony Gonzalez.
To raise money, participants will be able to direct people to a webpage where they can make online donations.
“The men actually have an app on their phone, which makes it pretty easy for them,” said Gonzalez. “You can also on online at Making Strides San Luis Obispo, find the team Real Men Wear Pink and if you donate to them, that will help their campaign.”
Gonzalez said they are hoping to raise at least $10,000.
While the local fundraiser lasts throughout October, Wednesday, October 10th marked Real Men Wear Pink Day around the country.
It also served as the official kickoff to the Santa Maria fundraiser.
“Breast cancer doesn’t affect just women,” said Flores. “It affects everybody. It affects their families and their kids. It affects their co-workers, so it’s not just about the person going through it, it’s everybody around them.”
Through October 31, the men will wear pink in a variety of ways, including shirts, ties, hats, pins, wristbands, headbands, socks and much more.
“It stands out because you don’t often see men wearing pink,” said participant James Thomas. “People come up to you and ask what’s the deal with the pink everyday and it gives you an opportunity to tell them about it.”
Flores agreed, adding it’s a simple, yet effective way to bring more awareness about the disease.
“It’s not my preferred color, but I’ll wear it,” Flores said. “Obviously, pink is symbolic towards the breast cancer awareness, so anything for a great cause and I’m more than happy to wear it this month if it means raising some money.”
Local radio personality Ed Carcarey is also taking part.
He said he has only one pink shirt in his wardrobe, so on Wednesday, he was supporting the cause with a pink ribbon pin on his sports coat.
“The pink stands out, that’s for sure,” said Carcarey. “When you’re wearing it on a black jacket like this, people take notice of it and ask questions, and that’s the whole motive of it.”
Each of the men in the fundraiser say it’s important to fight the disease that affects so many people.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 268,000 new breast cancer cases this year, with just over 40,000 deaths attributed to the disease.
“Cancer affects everybody in this world,” said Thomas. “If you haven’t had it, you definitely know a family or friend that’s had it. It’s terrible and we want to end it.”
For more information about the fundraiser or to donate, visit the Making Strides San Luis Obispo website.