Real Men Wear Pink unveils 2021 class behind campaign to support breast cancer research

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Brandon Leak’s world was upended two years ago when his mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

“She’s the rock of our family,” said Leak, co-host of “The Locker Room” morning show on 680/93.7 FM The Fan. “My uncle used to call her the ‘Iron Lady’ growing up because she never cried ... She was always able to keep a stoic approach and be very business-oriented. It was really shocking that it happened. It came out of nowhere.”

Now Leak is participating in the American Cancer Society’s “Real Men Wear Pink of Atlanta” campaign to raise awareness of the disease and money to support breast cancer research. The annual campaign has become one of the top breast cancer fundraisers in the nation.

The names of the 34 men in the 2021 campaign class were unveiled during a special event on Tuesday at the iHeartMedia Performance Lounge. The campaign complements the organization’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk , which takes place this fall.

Leak’s mother, Claudette Leak, a retiree from Decatur, went in for her regularly scheduled mammogram where doctors discovered a suspicious lump. She underwent an aggressive treatment program of radiation and chemotherapy and is now in remission.

The retired executive assistant to the county’s chief operating officer said her approach was practical.

“We’ve identified a situational problem, now let’s work on the solution.”

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It’s deeply personal for some of the “Real Men Wear Pink” participants, many of whom have had wives, sisters, mothers and daughters diagnosed with breast cancer.

In addition to his mother, Leak said his maternal grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and two good friends were also diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to the ACS’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2021, an estimated 281,550 women and 2,650 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. In Georgia, 8,770 women are expected to be diagnosed.

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Doctors recommend that women get regular mammograms to allow for early detection when cancer is most easily treated.

Participants in “Real Men Wear Pink” are selected by members of the ACS staff or board or nominated. Many are business and community leaders.

The men all have extensive networks to help get the word out about the campaign and information about breast cancer research and treatment.

Erin Nixon, senior corporate relations manager with the American Cancer Society, said the goal for the Atlanta campaign, which is in its sixth year, is $295,000.

Pink is the symbol of breast cancer awareness so each man is asked to wear the color every day during October, which is designated breast cancer awareness month.