Breast cancer awareness and early detection will take center stage today at Penske locations across the globe as more than 25,000 associates take part in the seventh annual Penske Pink Out.
The associate-led event, which began in 2015 in the U.S. with 200 associates, has grown to locations across Penske's international footprint. Associates in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, and The Netherlands are taking part.
Associates will wear pink T-shirts, wrist bands, masks, socks and hats, and host fundraisers and awareness activities during this year's event.
Maggie Seaman, Manager of Operations for Penske Fleet Management, whose mother passed away in 2017 from breast cancer, created Penske Pink Out to promote breast cancer education and to provide support to those battling the disease.
"Every year the excitement for Penske Pink Out gets bigger and bigger," Seaman said. "More people feel comfortable sharing their story."
Penske Pink Out coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which seeks to bring awareness and raise funds dedicated to finding a cure.
Breast Cancer by the Numbers
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) estimates 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S this year and more than 43,600 are expected to die from the disease.
On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the NBCF.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. It is estimated that in 2021 approximately 30% of all new women cancer diagnoses will be breast cancer.
Men are also at risk for breast cancer. An estimated 2,650 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the U.S. and approximately 530 will die.
The NBCF encourages early detection through self-exams and scheduling clinical exams and mammograms.
In addition, the foundation promotes the adoption of a healthy lifestyle complete with a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.
Making Strides Toward a Cure
In the weeks leading up to Penske Pink Out, associates held fundraisers, shared breast cancer information, and rallied around those who shared how breast cancer has touched the lives of loved ones.
For more than two decades, the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has united communities to rally together in forming teams to raise awareness and funds and dedicated to research, 24/7 support for cancer patients, and access to lifesaving screenings.
This year 47 Penske Making Strides Against Breast Cancer teams participated in the fundraising walks in 20 states and have raised more than $48,000 for the ACS.
"Thank you to all Penske associates for helping us to lead this awareness campaign," said Stephanie McDonald, Senior Corporate Relations Manager for the American Cancer Society of the Northeast Region.
"For the Society, it is more than fundraising. It is about raising awareness that education on prevention and early detection saves lives. It is about encouraging people to go for their mammograms, to go get their screenings
In Elkhart, Indiana, associates started hosting fundraising events in early September, ranging from jeans days to a cornhole tournament to a pie-in-the-face event.
Callie Ruben, Branch Operations Coordinator, and Emily Smith, Operations Coordinator, joined forces to create events that were creative and included a healthy dose of fun. "Not only are we raising money for a good cause, but we are doing fun stuff that everyone can join," said Ruben.
In Columbus, Ohio, the story of how breast cancer has touched Emily Hockenberry resonated with many on her team.
Although Hockenberry, Operations Coordinator, has been a supporter of breast cancer awareness and early detection, she never had a direct connection to the disease until earlier this year when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"It was definitely scary," Hockenberry said. "Just like anything, you don't really think much about it until it affects you personally."
Hockenberry's mother shared her story on Facebook to inspire others on a similar breast cancer journey. Her daughter was one of the first to have a change of heart.
"It opens your eyes and makes you more aware," Hockenberry said.
By Bernie Mixon