2018-10-01 / Shorts

Banded Together

Real Men Wear Pink Campaign to Launch Oct. 5 at Benefit Concert
Laura Zaks

Cancer is scary.
It’s not easy to hear the word without thinking of a loved one, of a time when the worst news in the world was delivered to someone close to you.

But the scariness of that six-letter word can be beaten back by the positivity and support that ensues when families and friends come together to help fight the battle and grow in love during the most trying of times.

On Oct. 5 The State Theatre will manifest that powerful moment by hosting “Band Together,” a concert in State College to benefit the American Cancer Society. Local bands Ramalama, Ted and Molly, Doug McMinn and Hannah Bingman, Natascha and the Spy Boys, Jackie Brown and the Gill Street Band, and Jason Adams Arts will take the stage.

The night will also launch the newest national cancer-fighting campaign locally following last year’s similar initiative, Real Men on Campus. The Real Men Wear Pink campaign will be presented the night of the benefit and is spearheaded by Eden Gilligan, community development manager at the American Cancer Society.

“This campaign gives men a greater presence in the fight against breast cancer as they too can start raising awareness and funds, education and guidance to reduce risk as well as support patients and services,” Gilligan says. “We are striving for 100 percent attendance by our Real Men candidates, (as) Band Together is meant to be a celebration of the empowerment communities have when they stick together against a cause as important as fighting breast cancer.”

The whole campaign and benefit started with a meeting in June, when Gilligan asked her team to come up with a list of local men who could be the faces and voices of this year’s Real Men Wear Pink.

As of mid-September, there were nine men committed to the cause. Jeff Brown, the voice of the morning show on 93.7 The Bus, happily accepted the challenge.“My role will include me wearing pink in one form or another all throughout the month of October, whether it’s a pink wrist band or pink socks,” Brown says. “There may be times when guys don’t think about breast cancer as much as they should, but it affects men too, whether it be personally or through their own mothers, daughters or wives.”

Besides wearing something pink every day, Brown’s commitment as a “Real Man” involves raising at least $2,500 through campaigning — an effort that will be kicked off at Band Together.

Tom Wilson, a member of Ramalama, is excited to perform at Band Together to raise money for all women and men who are fighting.

“We have a mass of talents on the musical front here in Centre County; it’s important for us to come together and make some music for a night as special as this one,” he says.

Singer Jackie Brown, a three-year breast cancer survivor, is excited to have all the bands and the Real Men Wear Pink spokesmen supporting the event.

“I think when people get diagnosed, loved ones don’t know what to do, but it’s the small things that go the extra mile — things like being there for support,” Brown says. “I am so happy to be at a point in my life where I can talk about my story. I feel I have truly beat breast cancer if I am able to talk about it.”

But the true triumph, she says, is when everyone helps to cultivate more success stories.

“Any support — even in the smallest amount — makes a difference.” •SCM

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