October 02, 2019

October kicks off month of raising funds for breast cancer

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
real men wear pink
Caption: Greece Teachers Association President Brian Ebertz (at right, with Greece TA colleague Lisa Quinn) is this year's NYSUT ambassador for the American Cancer Society's "Real Men Wear Pink" movement. Photo via Twitter.

Brian Ebertz walks in pink. For the entire month of October he will don pink every day to catch attention: pink ties, pink shirts, pink socks, a pink tie clip, long-sleeve pink T-shirts and pink golf shirts.

He does not yet have a pink hat, though he’s still looking for one.

Ebertz is president of the 1,100-member Greece Teachers Association and a former elementary school teacher. And this year, he is the NYSUT ambassador for Real Men Wear Pink, a male movement to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s quest to cure cancer, fund research and provide support services to patients.

He is one of 16 regional ambassadors for Real Men Wear Pink for the American Cancer Society.

The ACS set a goal for him of $2,500.

“I blasted through that already,” he said. His new goal is $5,000. Donations can be made online.

Last year, NYSUT had Real Men Wear Pink activists in Rochester and in Buffalo. The Rochester campaign netted $9,193, and the Buffalo campaign raised $36,144, with support from NYSUT headquarters, according to Amy Delia, marketing director for ACS Northeast. She said Real Men Wear Pink raised $633,332 in New York State.

The 2019 ambassadors had a networking event to brainstorm ways to raise money and attention, and Ebertz will be working events in a barnstorming fundraising tour this month:

  • Oct. 1 — Ebertz did a guest bartending event at a Rochester-area craft brewery. Ebertz had some help from education colleagues serving the specialty pink brew. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to ACS.
  • Oct. 9 — Ebertz and other RMWP ambassadors will be making food for patients staying at the Rochester Hope Lodge to serve to patients and families. The ACS lodges provide housing to patients and their caregivers who have to travel for cancer treatment; there are two lodges in New York State.
  • Oct. 25 — Ebertz is working another social fundraising event; this one at the Clutch restaurant and pub in Greece.

He’s already purchased 1,200 pink “Real Men Wear Pink” bracelets and he is figuring out a way to use those for fund-raising. One of his three teenaged sons, whom he said are “super gung ho” for the campaign, already swiped one of the bracelets to wear.

Sales of clothing to raise money for the cause of curing cancer are going strong. The Greece TA has an online ordering site for pink apparel —sweatshirts, T-shirts, golf shirts — with their union logo. A portion of the proceeds from that will also raise money for ACS during October.


On the last Friday in September, Ebertz was in 11 different school buildings dropping off the goods to colleagues who ordered pink items.

“I ran all around the schools delivering pink,” he said.

The exercise is a warm-up, of course, for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk he will again take part in with family and friends. This year it is Sunday, Oct. 20 in Rochester.

“I believe it’s a responsibility of a person in position of leadership to use that role to make a pretty big impact … and help out.” he said. The American Cancer Society is a good cause because the disease of cancer affects so many families — including his own.

Making Strides 2019

  • Oct. 12: Buffalo
  • Oct. 13: Syracuse, Jamestown
  • Oct. 20: Albany, Bronx, Plattsburgh, Hudson Valley, Brooklyn, Jones Beach, Central Park, Utica, Queens, Staten Island, Rochester, Westchester
  • Oct. 27: Riverhead, Glens Falls

As any educator knows, learning is a lifelong process. As an ambassador, what has he learned?

“This year they’re expecting 4,000 men to be diagnosed with breast cancer,” he said.

Even when pink season has passed, the Greece TA will still be flush with unionists who support giving. On its site, any GTA items that are blue or gray go toward its ongoing social justice campaign. The TA has a Greece Teachers Community Programs 501(c)(3) that supports different charity projects. Next month, they will purchase 500 winter coats, hats and gloves for students in need — as they have each year for the last five years. They also sponsor food shelves in schools so students can load backpacks for the weekend with food; and sponsor a college and career savings program.

“Unionism is so important. People have to understand the good that power in numbers can make,” Ebertz said. “How much we can impact the community is amazing.”

Visit www.cancer.org for more information about the ACS’s mission and to find a Making Strides walk near you.