Jeff Ackerman: Fighting the pink fight against breast cancer |

Jeff Ackerman: Fighting the pink fight against breast cancer

I’d like to stray a bit from my general rants this week and talk about a woman’s breast. You know … that part of a female anatomy most of us fed upon while still soiling our diapers and learning to use our tiny fingers and toes.

You could say I’m kind of a Renaissance Breast Man. In fact, when my wife was going through her cancer journey (and it really is a journey), I read a 300-page book on women’s breasts. That’s right. It took all 300 pages just to explain how a woman’s breast works and how cancer can get in there and screw it all up. Most men have no idea how many lobes and ducts make up a woman’s breast. In fact, once they have been weaned, most men never really see the breast the same way again. Playboy Magazine and Hollywood see to that. Older brothers simply reinforce it.

But when your wife, mother, daughter or sister have a cancer working its way through one, you start to look at breasts in a much different light, at least if you are any kind of husband, brother, father or son.

And once you have gone through that journey with a woman you love, you start to appreciate the significance of breasts and of the color pink, as in Project Pink, or Paint The Town Pink, a symbol that has come to represent a disease that a woman you know probably has, has had, or will have.

October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is why I am unashamedly going to promote a couple of events designed to raise money for some very important medical equipment needed on the local front to fight a cancer that one of every eight women will probably get.

The first event is slated for this Thursday night (Oct. 11) from 5:30 to 7:30. It’s a Project Pink Party at the Pilates Place in downtown Grass Valley (the address is 121 South Church Street … in the parking lot behind Mill Street, where the giant mural on the wall is. If you get lost, call 477-5167 … but look for the pink balloons … I know these things because I always get lost). My friend, Roxanna Cohen, owns the place, and she’s planning one heck of an evening of fun, sharing and, hopefully, fundraising.

“We’ve got a lot of (auction) items up for grabs,” Roxanna told me. “We have a kayak with paddle and vest, a pink snowboard, a women’s ski outfit, wakeboard, bicycle, lots of great art, two season’s tickets to the Twin Cities Concert Series and lots and lots of gift certificates.”

There will also be lots of good food and, if I know Roxanna and her pals, good laughs. It might also allow you a chance to learn a little more about Pilates and how Roxanna is using her extensive background in that arena to help women in recovery. For more information about Thursday evening’s event, call Roxanna at 477-5167. My wife and I hope to see you there.

The Union is also working on an event to help bring a spotlight to the fight against breast cancer. We’re partnering with the wonderful folks at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital on Paint The Town Pink, slated for Oct. 25, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

That will also be an evening of food, wine, auctions and giveaways. Proceeds will also benefit local breast cancer treatment.

And for all you men out there who are probably thinking, “Great. Another chick event,” knock it off. Who do you think would be the first to organize a benefit for your prostate cancer? Don’t even suggest Fred or your buddy Phil. There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that men are not capable of planning anything but a TV dinner, and even that’s a stretch. If it weren’t for women, there would be nothing to do on weekends but sit around scratching and complaining about the lack of a TV Guide. My 50-and-over softball team couldn’t even agree on a simple season-ending barbecue, for crying out loud. We’re talking hot dogs and beer.

And don’t act like you don’t care about breasts. I know most of you, and that’s practically all you talk about, at least when you aren’t complaining about the weather or lack of a real TV Guide.

Seriously – and I say this from having been smack in the middle of the battlefield – this breast cancer problem is a big deal and deserving of all the attention and all the resources we can muster. We have an outstanding hospital right here in town, and it is filled with some of the best caregivers you will find anywhere in the world. If you can’t make it to one of these “pink” events this month, there are many ways you can help support or fund the many needs.

Please help.


Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299,, or 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley 95945.

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