October was a bountiful month for the American Cancer Society (ACS) of the Capital Region. Its annual Real Men Wear Pink fundraising campaign, which takes place throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (i.e. October), saw ACS’ team of pink-wearing community leaders, business owners and volunteers raise more money for breast cancer awareness than any other chapter in the country. With a total of $370,561 raised through the end of October—the campaign is actually still raising funds and currently up to $372,394—the Capital Region, which has a population of a little more than 1 million people, outraised campaigns run in major urban areas such as Los Angeles, Boston and New York City. “I’m so, so excited and so proud of the team,” says Lizzie Hunter, senior community development manager for ACS of the Capital Region. “I had a front-row seat to see the dedication from [our] participants and the generosity of so many community members, [and] I feel an immense amount of pride in the Real Men Wear Pink team and the Capital Region as a whole.”
For the 2019 campaign, there were a total of 26 Real Men Wear Pink participants in the Capital Region campaign who, in addition to donning the official hue of Breast Cancer Awareness every day for the entire month of October, were responsible for raising at least $2500 apiece. The group included everyone from a team of five representatives from Prime Companies, an Albany-based real estate and hospitality company—which brought in the most donations with more than $80,000—to the president and CEO of Saratoga National Bank & Trust Co., David DeMarco, who was the 7th highest earner with more than $20,000 to his name. “It truly was a team effort, not only from our 26 participants but from their networks and the Capital Region as a whole,” says Hunter who was responsible for bringing in volunteers, developing their fundraising plans and, in her words, acting as a “cheerleader to keep the momentum up.”
Hunter clearly knows what she’s talking about. She’s been working for ACS of the Capital Region since 2014, and this is her third year managing the local Real Men Wear Pink campaign. (saratoga living honored Hunter on our inaugural Saratoga 20 list last year.) Since then, she’s not only grown ACS’ local fundraising efforts exponentially, but also earned ACS a national ranking every successive year of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, placing 4th her first year with $147,000 and 2nd last year with $263,000.
Though this year’s drive ended several days ago, Hunter says she’s already doing a little planning on the 2020 campaign—but first, a little victory lap is in order. “[We’re] planning a celebration for the 2019 team before we move on,” says Hunter. “I know, coming off of this year, [that] the Capital Region’s excited to continue to lead the nation in the fight against breast cancer.”