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Out Of The Shadow Of Pink

9:45 AM, May 21, 2010   |    comments
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DICKERSON, Md. (WUSA) - Cathy Reid remembered her husband Joe Reid who died of breast cancer and all they shared in 29-years of marriage with tears in her eyes.

"Joe had noticed a lump probably months before he mentioned it to me. Joe was an avid weightlifter and he assumed it was a weightlifting injury," Cathy told us.

That was in 2005. Joe said nothing to Cathy until he noticed his nipple had become inverted. She suspected cancer, but having a woman's disease was the farthest thing from her husband's mind. However, a mammogram confirmed the worst. They both were in total shock and devastated by the diagnosis.

Their life together ended with Joe's death in September 2008 from Stage IV breast cancer.

Cathy said, "I never thought when I gave myself a check I should give him one too."

Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer, but men are diagnosed with breast cancer and die from it too.

The most recent estimates for male breast cancer just in the United States find that nearly 2,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men and 440 men will die from breast cancer this year.

Before his death, Joe and Cathy founded "Out of the Shadow of Pink" to educate and offer support to men with breast cancer.

"When he was first diagnosed, he wanted someone to talk to and there was no one. Everything they gave us was pink, they gave us little pink goody bags, they had pink nail files and all the information was printed on pink paper. The men are just in the shadows," Cathy said.

On her own now, Cathy wants to shine a bright light on men and breast cancer. She's wants the third week in October declared Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. She's sent letters to every Maryland legislator, but she hasn't gotten a lot of response back. She did hear from Florida Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. Brown-Waite will present a resolution on the House floor supporting Cathy's initiative.

To help fund the campaign, Cathy has designed logo hats and shirts and a very special breast cancer awareness bracelet. It has pink stones and one single blue stone to represent the one percent of men that will be diagnosed each year.