Area leaders compete to raise cancer funds

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For the month of October, SVSU President Donald Bachand will compete in the Real Men Wear Pink of Great Lakes Bay campaign to benefit cancer research.

Jeff Larsen, the community development manager with the American Cancer Society, reached out to Bachand and other influential community members such as Kurt Ieuter of Ieuter Insurance Group in Midland, Mike Tribble with Yeo & Yeo, Wayne Hofmann with Spence Brothers and others to be Real Men Wear Pink candidates.

The campaign has a target fundraising goal of $30,000. Each candidate competes to raise the most money along with the promise to wear pink for the entire month. Bachand was in second place with nearly $4,000, while Ieuter was in the lead with $6,801.

Bachand expressed how close he was to the cause, having been personally impacted by the disease.

“To the extent that we can continue our capacity to detect cancer at an earlier stage and improve technology, and if you can catch it close to day one, the whole treatment regiment is much different,” Bachand said. “(Cancer) is a horrific disease that has affected me, my family, my wife in so many ways.”

Being a candidate for this cause was a no-brainer for Bachand, as it’s something he has a lot of passion for.

“This is easy,” Bachand said. “It’s about raising money to improve cancer detection and treatment …. This is giving me an opportunity (to be involved), and I have great staff and very smart students to help me develop (my campaign).”

Bachand also said he isn’t interested in just participating, but that he wants to win the entire competition.

“I’m trying to beat (the competition) into the ground,” Bachand said. “I’m not trying to do the minimum. If you say you are going to do something, do it the best you can.”

Bachand’s campaign team has collaborated with Cardinals Against Cancer and Alumni Relations and promoted the campaign at SVSU sporting events and on his Facebook page.

Their strategy to raise money is to sell pink t-shirts that read “On Wednesdays, Cards Wear Pink,” a “Mean Girls” movie reference. They have already sold 115 t-shirts that have raised $575. Donations can be made online at the Real Men Wear Pink website.

Being an active supporter of the university’s Relay for Life program every year, Bachand has seen the involvement and commitment of SVSU students.

“When you see all the involvement from all the fraternities, sororities and RSOs doing their own (fundraisers), but collectively for this particular purpose, it’s a very nice thing to see, and very powerful,” he said.

Bachand further explained how important he thinks awareness is for students and young adults.

“You need to be aware,” he said. “(Cancer) impacts and affects so many people. Getting young people aware of these kinds of things, getting them involved in service, learning about the needs of others and not just themselves early on; I think helps shape people.”

Bachand hopes to inspire students to become involved in something bigger than themselves and make an impact for a meaningful cause.

“(The students) are not promoting me, they are promoting the cause,” Bachand said. “I think they should support the campaign because this is so important not just for me but for their own futures.”

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