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J. Thomas McNamara

     RMWP…an acronym for Real Men Wear Pink
     Prep football fans in and around Decatur and Macon County are used to seeing men of all ages wearing pink on Fridays in October.
But not last fall because the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in government officials cancelling all prep sports with their lockdown guidelines.
     “Cancer never stops,” said Valerie Jordan, St. Mary’s Hospital’s director of oncology services, adding that the hospital made some adjustments in its RMWP program to give schools more flexibility in how they wanted to handle their programs this spring to continue informing their students and others about the importance of early detection of breast cancer through mammograms.
     Jordan explained instead of the hospital driving the campaign, the schools are doing what they think is best to increase breast cancer awareness among their respective schools and communities which they have always been done well.
     “We’re not in it to make money, we’re in it to increase breast cancer awareness,” said she of the hospital’s commitment to continuing to provide the players and coaches with RMWP pink shirts and and masks. Since there wasn’t any prep football last October because of the pandemic, pink masks were sold since that is breast cancer awareness month.
     A virtual store has been established where interested parents and students can purchase the RMWP shirts.
     As a result, St. Mary’s Hospital has moved its breast cancer campaign to this spring’s prep football season.
     With the pandemic creating havoc and the politicians making life miserable for all the coaches and their student-athletes with their decisions forcing last year’s basketball tournaments to be cancelled along with all the spring sports, prep football was given a second life with the decision from those same politicians to let the games be played this spring.
     The RMWP campaign now is underway as the prep football season enters its third week of their six-game season, three games less than they usually play each fall.
     St. Mary’s Hospital sponsors the breast cancer awareness campaign that calls attention to grandfathers, fathers, brothers and sons to ask their grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters to schedule their annual mammogram screenings which are so important to early detection.
     I will have more on this story in a future printed edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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