MURRAY – The 2021 Men in Pink campaign kicked off Monday evening at The Barn at White Oaks, revealing the 10 men who will spend Breast Cancer Awareness Month raising money to support the Regional Cancer Center at Murray-Calloway County Hospital.

The 2021 Men in Pink were revealed in the following order as they walked down the pink carpet with their escorts:

• Jeff Rudy, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church, was escorted by Jennifer Riley, a breast cancer survivor who has recently completed chemotherapy and radiation.

• Matt Purdy, director of career services at Murray State University, was escorted by his wife, Melissa.

• Colin Fitzgerald, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, was escorted by Donna Herndon, chair for the Enduring Hope Campaign to raise money to build the new Regional Cancer Center.

• Chip Adams, a private practice attorney, was escorted by his oldest daughter, Callie Adams.

• Dan Otterson, a full-time Murray Police Department officer and owner of The Garage on Main, was escorted by his wife, Abby.

• Chuck Williams, who works at the Calloway County Early Childhood Regional Training Center as a special education and early childhood consultant, was escorted by his wife, Twilla.

The remaining four men could not attend Monday’s event.

• Trevor Saucier is a hairdresser at The Wild Rose Salon.

• Darren Yates is owner of The Keg restaurant and the Yates Event Center.

• Dr. Matt Price is an OB-GYN at Women’s Health at MCCH.

• Lance Allison is director of business development with Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering and Testing Inc.

Lisa Shoemaker, senior philanthropy officer for the MCCH Foundation, thanked the men for participating and thanked the organizing committee for choosing the Regional Cancer Center as the beneficiary. She said the current center is about 20 years old and is badly in need of new equipment, as well as a facility that can house all of its patients’ treatment needs so they won’t have to walk outside to go from one office to the next.

Herndon said not a lot of men are comfortable wearing pink, so she greatly appreciated their efforts, and she said she is so glad the money raised will stay in this community.

“I have a real personal interest in breast cancer treatment here, and Jennifer Riley is one of my dear friends,” Herndon said. Gesturing toward her bracelet and looking at Riley in the audience, she added, “I’ve been wearing this bracelet from the beginning, and it won’t come off until you’re cancer free, my girl.”

Jerry Penner, CEO of MCCH, said he was also “ecstatic” that the Men in Pink committee is keeping money here because he believes that Murray and Calloway County residents deserve to have the highest-quality cancer treatments available without having to exhaust themselves traveling between home and a different city. He reminded attendees that the target opening for the new Regional Cancer Center in spring 2023 is “not far away.” He said the hospital would be raising money for the center with a telethon in October, and each of the Men in Pink would be spotlighted.

Tim Stark, who participated in the first year of the campaign in Murray in 2018, was the evening’s master of ceremonies. He said about $36,000 was raised for last year’s campaign, and the goal has been set at $40,000 this year.

Randy Taylor, who won last year’s fundraising competition by raising about $7,000, talked about why he chose to get involved. Taylor is a dentist and partner at Taylor Family Dental, and he said he learned all about cancer while studying medicine, but it is one thing to be taught about it and another to experience it first-hand. He said his wife, Lee Ann, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and as he got involved in last year’s campaign, the memories of that time came flooding back.

“It took me back to those moments when I was sitting down and Lee Ann shares this with me, and we’re like, ‘What do we do? How do we handle this?’” Taylor said. “Our kids were little at the time, and I still remember the night we sat on the couch, and you can imagine the questions you get. And you imagine as a parent how you answer those questions.”

Taylor advised this year’s participants to get creative, and he credited Lee Ann with giving him most of his ideas. He said he wore pink scrubs to work every day during the campaign, and he put out a donation jar at the office. He said he also had a number of people contributing to his campaign and challenging each other to give the largest amount.

Toward the end of the event, Stark announced that Chuck Williams had sold the most tickets to the kickoff of any of the Men in Pink, so he automatically earned a $100 credit to his campaign.

Stark said each of the men will have their own Facebook pages to collect donations, and donations may also be given on the Men in Pink of Calloway County Facebook page. Checks should be made out to MCCH Foundation, with “Men in Pink” written in the memo line. Donations may also be brought to Martha Andrus at the Murray Ledger & Times office at 1001 Whitnell Ave.

The Men in Pink campaign committee was co-chaired by Martha Andrus and Kelly Chapman with much support from Lisa Shoemaker, Donna Herndon and Amy Wyatt at The Barn at White Oaks.

During the event, sponsorship checks were also presented to the Men in Pink campaign from The Murray Bank and Peel and Holland Insurance. Other sponsors are The Murray Ledger & Times, The Barn at White Oaks, The Keg and the Yates Center.