This season’s Real Men Wear Pink candidates proved to be second to none in their enthusiasm and tireless effort in the fight against breast cancer.
In 2019, more than 3,600 candidates from across the country participated in over 250 campaigns in their local communities. Each man committed to wear pink every day in October and engage their communities and networks as they raised awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer.
This was a special season, as our Real Men Wear Pink candidates raised the bar in their fundraising and in their spirited competition. Read on to learn about our Top 10 nationwide fundraisers, whose combined efforts raised more than $785,000! These men truly exemplify what it means to be a “Real Man,” so please join us in giving them our sincere thanks and congratulations.
Jeffrey Sheehan, Real Men Wear Pink of Oakland County (Michigan) - $218,483.00: If Mr. Sheehan’s name looks familiar, it is because he secured his spot as the Top Real Man in the country for the second year in a row! Jeffrey set his sights high and more than doubled his fundraising total from 2018. Not only did he work tirelessly on his own campaign, but Jeffrey provided support to his fellow candidates across the country, including personally making a contribution to the #2 candidate’s campaign to help push him to meet his goal. Read more about Mr. Sheehan here.
Grant Navarre, Real Men Wear Pink of Southwest Louisiana - $101,622.06: Mr. Navarre is another familiar face in the Top 10, snagging the #2 spot for the second year in a row—though 2019 was Grant’s fifth year competing as a Real Men Wear Pink candidate in Southwest Louisiana. His fundraising efforts have grown each year from $2,500, $10,000, $30,000, $75,000 and this year – $101,622! As a successful business owner, he has no problem setting goals and putting forth every effort to surpass them. He fundraises by holding pink events throughout the community, relies on the generous support of individual donors, and hosted a golf tournament that raised over $55,000. In addition to losing his father to cancer, he has had many friends and family members around him battle this terrible disease, and he has continued to be a true champion of making an impact to end cancer.
Ali Sadeghi, Real Men Wear Pink of New Orleans - $76,841.67: Dr. Sadeghi, a plastic surgeon and reconstructive microsurgeon, is considered a leader in the field of reconstructive breast surgery. He was the #14 Real Man nationwide last year but went above and beyond his previous fundraising total in 2019 by planning events such as “Support the Sets” (a volleyball tournament), “Knock Out Cancer” (a boxing class), and the “Let’s Hear It For the Girls” Gala (an 80’s themed gala). His profession helped to personally motivate Ali to participate in this year’s campaign. “In my practice, I am honored to do a lot of surgeries and reconstructive surgery on breast cancer patients,” says Dr. Sadeghi. “These patients come in so much…they become like family. They are the most thankful patients, too, that I’ve ever had. I wanted to do this for them.”
Steve Barber, Real Men Wear Pink of Pittsburgh - $71,195.09: Mr. Barber was nominated for this year’s campaign by 2018 alumni John Kohler and Jason Staley. Breast cancer runs through Steve’s family, having already struck his mother, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and friends. Currently, his sister, Karen, is battling breast cancer. Steve held a number of fundraising events, but the secret to his success was simply wearing pink and sharing his story. From strangers in the office elevator to long time clients and friends, Steve shared his family’s story and the donations followed. Steve also made it a point to personally thank each and every person who donated with personal visits, hand written thank-you notes, a social media post, or a phone call.
Tom Flookes, Real Men Wear Pink of Seattle - $58,734.78: Last year, Mr. Flookes was our #7 Nationwide Real Man. This season was an even bigger year for Tom as he climbed to #5 nationwide and achieved the top spot in the state of Washington for the second year running! Tom is the co-chairman of American Cancer Society’s Washington/Alaska Board of Advisors, as well as an Associate Partner for IBM's Global Business Services Division. He really stood out in the halls of IBM when he dyed his beard bubblegum pink this year (last year, he dyed his hair pink!), and was often stopped and asked about the color—a great way to spread the word about his campaign! Tom is an avid wine collector and fundraised for his campaign in part by holding wine tasting fundraisers.
Sid Jones, Real Men Wear Pink of Atlanta - $58,688.86: Mr. Jones is the Senior VP of Investor Relations at Genuine Parts Company (GPC). GPC actively supports many causes, and this was an opportunity for Sid to join the fight and give back after having family, friends, and colleagues who have fought cancer (and in some cases, continue to battle). Sid was motivated not only by his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor, but by the spirit of friendly competition inspired by last year’s GPC representatives in Atlanta’s RMWP campaign, Derek Goshay and Greg Miller. “It’s rewarding to be part of a great cause that is truly making a difference,” says Sid.
Kevin Herron, Real Men Wear Pink of Atlanta - $53,936.83: Mr. Herron, president of the US Automotive Parts Group at GPC, joined his partner Sid Jones as a representative of GPC participating in Real Men Wear Pink. “The personal stories heard through this experience were unbelievable, and motivated me to continue the fight,” says Kevin. “Seeing the outpouring of support from our NAPA auto parts stores, suppliers, race teams, and GPC company partners has been inspiring to not only me, but our co-employees who have faced this disease.” Together, Sid and Kevin lead fundraising efforts involving GPC’s network of employees and partners, including a NAPA Truck Pull hosted at GPC’s company headquarters.
Nicholas Schnelle, Real Men Wear Pink of Collin County (Texas) - $50,295.00: Mr. Schnelle, the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX market president at AutoNation, was personally impacted by cancer when his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Since his father’s diagnosis, Nick has continued to make every effort to support organizations which advance research to find a cure for the disease. Nick’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign was supported by an employee casino night, golf tournament, AutoNation employee t-shirt sales, and 16 area store fundraisers.
Randall Melton, Real Men Wear Pink of Memphis - $50,130.59: Randall Melton is a four-year Real Men Wear Pink ambassador. He joins the Memphis campaign in memory of his mother, who died of breast cancer in 1990 while he was in college. Randall has a wide range of donors, from friends and family across the U.S., to his fellow employees at Kroger, where he is the VP of merchandising for the Delta Division. His biggest strengths are that he has an unshakeable support system, he doesn't take no for an answer, and he isn't afraid to ask anyone for a donation. Randall utilized social media in his fundraising this season, taking fun photos and videos of himself all around town at popular locations in his bright pink suit jacket, complete with lime green polka dots. Randall said the jacket helped initiate conversations and many people shared with him their cancer journey or stories of their loved ones who have battled the disease.
Luis Vaccarello, Real Men Wear Pink of Columbus - $45,857.38: Dr. Vaccarello was nominated to be a Real Man by his wife, Renee. Dr. Vaccarello, who has devoted his career to the care of women with gynecologic cancers (he is currently with the Zangmeister Cancer Center), is very passionate about the programs and services his surgical oncology patients receive from the American Cancer Society. His patients get to their appointments because of ACS, they get valuable and accurate information from cancer.org and from the 24-hour cancer helpline. He appreciates that when his patients are in need, ACS can help in their care, survivorship, and support their caregivers, as well. Luis even helped bring the Zangmeister Cancer Center on board as a sponsor for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.