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Special fund-raiser planned to fight breast cancer

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

The Henry Medical Center (HMC) and the Young Professionals of Henry County (YP) will team up next month to spread the word about fighting breast cancer.

In preparation for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, the medical center is coordinating the month-long "Real Men Wear Pink" campaign.

According to Beau Kelley, president of the Young Professionals of Henry County, and an associate broker for Buddy Kelley Properties, the club will host a special fund-raiser Sept. 29 at Crystal Lake Golf and Country Club in Hampton, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Kelley said admission to the event will be $10, and will include heavy hors d'oeuvres prepared by Chef Jeffrey Bell and his staff. He said $5 from each ticket will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

The guest speaker, he said, will be Jeff Cooper, Henry Medical's vice president of operations, and the spokesman for "Real Men Wear Pink." Cooper will have special give-away items, and will debut two of the posters featured in the campaign.

"The goal of 'Real Men Wear Pink' is to ask men to encourage the women in their lives -- wives, mothers, daughters, friends, coworkers -- to go ahead and schedule a mammogram today," Kelley said. "'Real Men Wear Pink' is focused on spreading the word of early detection for breast cancer in Henry County, and throughout metro Atlanta."

The campaign is receiving support from some high-profile names in the community, according to Kelley. "Eleven Henry County leaders, including ... Pipkin and Shane Persaud, are stepping out in their best pink attire for this landmark campaign," he said. "The men are in print ads, and posters showcased in the windows of the McDonough JC Penney. We are very proud of Trea and Shane's support of the Henry County community and their commitment to this important awareness campaign."

Pipkin, an assistant district attorney in Henry County, and Henry County Tax Commissioner David Curry, another campaign participant, both pledged their support.

Curry chose to participate after being asked by Donna Braddy, HMC director of marketing, public relations and community education. "I felt honored to do it," he said.

He urged women to take advantage of early-detection medical procedures, such as mammograms, and said men need to do their part in those efforts. "It's important for men to step up," he said. "It's amazing how many are touched by cancer, especially breast cancer."

Pipkin had similar comments. "One of the main goals [of the campaign] is for men in Henry County to remind important women in their lives to seek mammograms early," he said.

In addition to Pipkin and Curry, the other participants in the campaign include: Earl Parker, with the Henry County Board of Education; District. V County Commissioner Johnny Basler; Ed Clark, president and general manager of the Atlanta Motor Speedway; Ken Huff, with Georgia Power Company; HMC Board of Directors member Steve Kay; Kenneth Kelly, with Georgia Power Company; Shane Persaud, with Building Design Partnership LLC; Brooks Nunnally, with Delta Air Lines, and Don Ash, Henry County Emergency Management Agency director.

Braddy said the American Cancer Society estimates that by the end of 2009, 192,370 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. Because of the significance of the numbers, said Braddy, the men in the campaign are being called upon to distribute materials to raise awareness, including pens, stickers, posters and other promotional materials.

In addition, Braddy said the medical center will offer a Breast Health Program on Oct. 20, from 7-9 p.m., in the hospital's Foundation Education Center. For more information, call (678) 604-1040.