By Rubin E. Grant
Trip Cobb didn’t have much pink in his wardrobe before this month. But this month, he has been wearing lots of pink.
“It’s just a color,” Cobb said with a laugh. “Color has no gender.”
Besides, Cobb is donning the pastel for something dear to him, fighting breast cancer. He is participating in the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
“It’s fun to wear pink and raise funds for a good cause,” Cobb said.
In the campaign’s sixth year in Central Alabama, 17 prominent area men are taking a stand against breast cancer by participating. They are wearing pink throughout February.
“Breast cancer affects everyone,” said Aubie Clements, community development manager for the American Cancer Society. “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. These are sisters, mothers, grandmothers and friends.
“That’s why I think these outstanding gentlemen have joined the American Cancer Society in support of this lifesaving work. This is a cause they personally believe in and are committed to raising awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer.”
Cobb, a Birmingham resident and sales consultant for Tito’s Handmade Vodka, is grateful for the opportunity to participate along with other community leaders throughout the nation because it gives men a leadership role in the fight against breast cancer, using the power of pink to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer initiatives, including innovative research, patient services and education about screenings and risk reduction.
“I’m extremely proud and honored to be amongst these other amazing and selfless men striving to raise awareness and funds to make a difference in Alabama and beyond by participating in the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign benefiting the American Cancer Society,” Cobb said.
Plus, during his fundraising campaign, Cobb has gotten to tell people about two breast cancer survivors who are close to him.
“I know two incredible women who helped raise my awareness about breast cancer, Nancy Smith and Beth Bellanti,” Cobb said. “Nancy Smith is my best friend’s mother, who battled it twice and has beaten it both times. But it took a toll on her life and my best friend’s life.
“Beth is my good friend and colleague. Beth spearheads my company’s Vodka for Dog People initiative and has been fighting for the safety and survival of our furry companions for years until she had to start her own fight with breast cancer. After she was diagnosed and went through treatments, she lost her hair, but she beat it and her hair is growing back out.”
Their fights against the disease have left an indelible impression on Cobb.
“I’m honestly just unbelievably moved by their perseverance, integrity and strong will, as I am with all cancer survivors, as I personally cannot imagine the fortitude and personal strength that it must take to overcome such a deadly disease, let alone deal with its side effects and the rigorous treatment,” he said.
Real Men participants nationwide compete to be the top fundraiser among their peers by the end of the campaign. The Real Men Wear Pink campaign in Central Alabama is the first campaign to kick off in 2021.
“The COVID pandemic has given cancer the advantage, as women were forced to postpone regular breast cancer screenings (last) year,” Clements said. “We are grateful to our Real Men Wear Pink participants for lending their voices to raise awareness and funds for everyone fighting breast cancer.”
According to the American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2021, an estimated 284,200 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 44,130 will die from the disease this year. In Alabama, 4,460 women will be diagnosed this year and 720 will die from the disease. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, and it is the most common cancer diagnosed in women other than skin cancer.
The goal for Real Men Wear Pink of Central Alabama is $100,000. Cobb’s initial goal was $7,500, but he raised that amount already because of the response he’s gotten from donors, especially from friends who work in the hospitality industry and for restaurants. Toward the end of last week, he had raised nearly $8,000.
“I’ve upped it to $12,000,” Cobb said. “I already made my goal, so I decided to increase it and try to go as high as I can. Plus, I want to win as the top fundraiser.”
For more information about breast cancer or the Real Men Wear Pink campaign in Central Alabama, visit RealMenBham.com.