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J. Thomas McNamara

    Although there’s no prep football this month, St. Mary’s Director of Oncology Services Val Jordan, Maverik Marketing’s Kevin Hinton, the hospital’s design guru Brad Ochiltree came up with the awesome plan of creating pink masks to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month which October is.

    “Our foundation (St. Mary’s) loved it,” exclaimed Jordan in a recent chat with the Decatur Tribune about the masks that replaces the RMWP pink shirts that were distributed to the schools and sold to others to support and increases breast cancer awareness.
    Jordan informed the reaction to the masks has been “crazy good” that were given to our first responders, including the sheriff, police and fire departments.
    Since 2006, schools from Macon (including Decatur), Shelby (Central A&M actually is located there), Piatt (Cerro Gordo is located there), Moultrie (Sullivan), Clinton (DeWitt), counties have all been wearing pink thanks to their athletic directors and coaches who from the first time Lori Kerans and her volunteers asked them they responded positively to her request to host Real Men Wear Pink Friday night events in October.
    Sullivan and Clinton weren’t in the startup but they wanted to be a part of the program of which they have become an integral part.
    A two-time breast cancer survivor herself and deep into Millikin women’s basketball practices at the time, Kerans found time to climb ladders to take pictures of the various teams in their pink shirts that Hinton’s Maverik Marketing provided.  That wasn’t all Hinton did as he spoke tearfully at times to the young men gathered around him about the importance of early detection of cancer, telling them the story about his wife, Terri, who survived colon cancer.
    A big thing like no Friday night football didn’t stop either Jordan, Hinton and others from coming up with the masks we need to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic.  What a brilliant idea the masks were and Ochiltree’s design provided the game-winning score.
    My sister is a breast cancer survivor, I’m a prostate cancer survivor (thanks to Jordan and her staff, one of whom (Mendi) is working for Decatur Orthopedic Center now in X-Ray and Dr. Renata Moore) which is why this month continues to be an important one because it’s the month I learned I had the disease and started treatment from Val, Mendi and Dr. Moore Thanksgiving Week of 2008.
    These pink masks are available for $5 each at the Brass Horn, Dale’s South Lake Pharmacy, Colee Corner Drugs, Giggles and St. Mary’s Cancer Care Center.  I bought seven for family members to wear.
    There’s only a few days left in October, but I’ll be wearing my RMWP mask longer than that for good reason.
    All young men in high school who are chomping at the bit to get back onto the field next March for their seven-game season, don’t forget to encourage your moms, your sisters, your grandmothers and your friends to get their mammogram.
    It could save their lives.

    Pink never looked so good as it does on the masks.  I look forward to seeing them when I’m out and about finding ingredients for healthy servings of Irish Stew.

    I’ll have more on the wearing of the RMPW masks in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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