Contributed photo by Chrissy Seals / Eighteen men in North Georgia will wear pink every day this month in honor of the American Cancer Society's Real Men Wear Pink campaign, which has a North Georgia component for the first time this year.

Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk is asking his deputies to dress a little differently this October. In addition to their regular uniforms, he and his deputies will wear pink bracelets and lapel pins in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The new accessories are tied to the American Cancer Society's Real Men Wear Pink annual campaign, which asks men across the country to wear pink and fundraise toward breast cancer research.

This is the first year with a North Georgia division, said campaign coordinator Chrissy Seals. Sisk and 17 other men from North Georgia will wear pink every day as part of the local launch.

Their goal is to raise $30,000.

"A lot of people suffer silently during this tough time," Sisk said of breast cancer, adding that the Sheriff's Office has participated in other memorial events like candlelight vigils in honor of those lost to breast cancer. "[Cancer] takes the wind out of your sails, but we want to show our support."

Also among the North Georgia "Real Men" is Juan Garcia, a marketing manager at North Georgia Toyota in Dalton. He's incorporating the dealership's monthly community celebration on Oct. 26 into his fundraising efforts. The event, to be held at the dealership, features live music, food and games. Garcia will collect donations at the event, and is also placing donation cards at the register at the dealership.

Garcia said he's had close co-workers, friends and family suffer from cancer. Just last year, a fellow employee at the dealership died suddenly of cancer.

"If there is anything I can do, I'll do it," Garcia said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Fellow participant and Catoosa County Probate Court Judge Jeff Hullender is playing benefit shows throughout the month with his family's singing group, The Hullender Family. He will have a donation box at the free shows to help support his Real Men campaign.

For Ben Friberg, a managing partner of Heritage Funeral Home and Crematory on Battlefield Parkway, participating this year has a personal tone. One of his closest friend's wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is staring chemotherapy, Friberg said.

This is the first time he's encountered a close family member or friend having cancer.

"All we have is hope," said Friberg. "So participating in this is a good way to invest in hope."

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