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Breast cancer awareness has certainly been heightened in recent years among women, thanks in large part to the creative marketing campaigns surrounding the color pink and promoted by organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

And while women are obviously the target audience for awareness — it's estimated that about 1 in 8 women, or 12 percent, in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime — the American Cancer Society wondered how they could get more men involved.

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Enter the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, which was introduced by ACS last year nationwide as part of its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk events, but will be tied to the Central Maryland region of organization for the first time in 2017.

The nonprofit is looking for 30 "Real Men" from the Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Baltimore county region to don pink T-shirts and other garb, and be ambassadors for the Making Strides walk that will take place Oct. 15 in Mount Airy. Katelyn Mock, senior community manager with the American Cancer Society of Central Maryland, said the goal is to recruit the men before the first week in August, then have the lineup of Real Men revealed at the VIPink Celebration fundraiser on Aug. 24.

American Cancer Society seeking 'real men'

Real men wear pink. If you're one of them, the American Cancer Society wants you.

Men are not immune to breast cancer, although the average American male is 100 times less likely to be diagnosed with the disease than a woman. Still, it's estimated about 2,500 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and about a fifth of them will die from it.

But even if they are less likely to develop breast cancer, thousands of men will be affected by the disease if a female in his life — his wife, mother, sister, daughter for example — is one of the more than 250,000 women expected be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

That's the case for Tom McCarron, who has volunteered to be the first "Real Man" of Carroll County. Both he and his wife Debbie have breast cancer survivors in their families and have participated in past Making Strides events.

"I think women are obviously very attuned to this, but we would like to see greater participation among men," McCarron told us. "I think very few people don't know somebody who has struggled with this.

"My intentions are to start reaching out to some of the men I know through various business contacts in Carroll County, to start recruiting them to be active like I have in this regard."

So what does it take to be a Real Man in the fight against breast cancer? Contact Mock at 240-727-9465 or email centralmdstrides@cancer.org to volunteer. Then get ready to wear pink and start working on donations. Mock is aiming for each of the men to raise $2,500 in funds to combine with money raised by the Mount Airy Making Strides walk to donate roughly $150,000 to the American Cancer Society this year.

Money raised helps fund breast cancer research and also supports patients by providing free rides to treatment and lodging for those traveling long distances in order to receive it.

So c'mon guys, who has what it takes to be a Real Man?



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