Alexis Ritter Gubbay has a message for men. "Check your pecs," she says. Why? "Pink or blue, men get breast cancer too," she explains. The two sayings are the slogans of The Blue Wave, an awareness campaign led by Gubbay of Maplewood and Cheri Ambrose of East Hanover.
The two women, Male Breast Cancer Awareness Ambassadors, will be at Sunday's Race for the Cure, in a tent adjacent to the Pink Cafe, next to the Survivors' Tent.
Their mission, explains Gubbay, who lived first in South Orange and now in Maplewood, is to raise awareness of breast cancer in men. Gubbay's husband, Judah, died of the disease in 2007. He was aware of a lump a year and a half before his eventual diagnosis, but neither he,the physician he spoke, nor an immediate family member in the medical profession considered the possibility of breast cancer.
Gubbay and Ambrose recently succeeded in having a week proclaimed Male Breast Cancer Awareness in October 2012, signed by Governor Christie. They hope to make the week an annual and, eventually, national event.
Gubbay is at work on a brochure that she will distribute on Sunday. In addition, she is crafting care packages for male breast cancer patients, which include surgical gowns in sizes and colors suitable for men. "We want to create a sense of comraderie," says Gubbay.
In addition, she works to raise awareness of the disease among doctors and the general public. "Get it checked," she advises men of any questionable symptom. She was pleased this past Sunday when a fashion show that raises funds for Komen included three male survivor models.
"I can save lives," says Gubbay of her work, "even though I couldn't save my husband." She hopes that those who have been touched by male breast cancer will wear blue on Sunday to help raise awareness. "In a sea of pink," she says, "we are a wave of blue.
Sunday's Komen event will include:
· A cake-lighting-happy-anniversary-singing ceremony to kick-off the Komen North Jersey Affiliate’s 15th Anniversary—with a cake provided by the generosity and kindness of none other than “The Cake Boss” and Carlo’s Bake Shop.
· Visit the Garden of Hope, a sea of giant, beautifully decorated pink foam board tulips that are inscribed with a special message that honors, or remembers, loved ones or friends who have been touched by breast cancer. Purchase a tulip for $30, inscribe your special message, and help our garden grow!
· Stop by the I AM THE CURE® booth to learn more about breast self-awareness. Spin the wheel for prizes and “take-home” educational information.
· Visit the EXPO area, and learn about the Race’s generous sponsors and collect some great give-aways.
· Get “Tinkled Pink” – browse through our colorful “gallery of port-o-potties” artistically rendered by enthusiastic teams of Race participants!
· Show your support for PINK—get a Pink Hair Extension at the Panico Salons booth!
· Go shopping in the Merchandise Tent and select something to remember the day—there will be a range of Komen Logo products and apparel from which to choose, and every purchase is another contribution to the cause.
· Stop and listen (or kick up your heels) to the sounds of the ultimate American show band The Infernos, who will be performing from the Main Stage throughout the day. Don’t miss the Survivor Celebration at 9:30am. The Infernos will be performing their original song “We’re Running for Life,” an incredibly moving song with lyrics and music by Kenny Simmons, Bobby Wells & Rocket J. Squirrel, Jr.; it was written especially for the Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure.