Real Men Wear Pink

Real Men boldly wear Pink, including 7-year-old Max Herndon

Max Herndon, a 7-year-old first-grader at Edgewater Elementary School, is pink with pride this month. Since Oct. 1, he’s been wearing the color pink every day.

The youngster is one of 11 males throughout the region who are the Real Men Wear Pink of Washington, D.C., participants, part of a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program. It is the second year of the campaign. Other Real Men include Buddy Hardeman, a former Redskin running back; R&B singer Eric Roberson, plus Gil Genn, an Annapolis business owner and former Maryland state delegate.

How to Adult: Should I Buy or Rent?

Max has a wardrobe of pink items: t-shirts, a bow tie, a set of suspenders and soccer socks. Max pairs them with shorts or pants with pink stripes or inserts or t-shirts printed with pink graphics. Or, he’ll borrow a pink hoodie from his mom and toss that on. He almost always wears a pink ribbon.

Though pink was a color associated primarily with male wearers through the early decades of the 20th century, by mid-century, it became nearly exclusively a “female color.” Even now, a male sporting pink gets attention.

“The first time I wore pink to school, the entire class was laughing,” Max said. “I don’t like pink. I never liked pink. But, I’m wearing it for my ‘Nana.’”

His Nana, maternal grandmother Cyndy Geissler, was 41 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Geissler fought the disease until her death at age 52, a little more than two years before Max’s birth in 2008. Geissler was the only known relative to succumb to breast cancer, though two of Max’s great-grandmothers passed away from other cancers.

Each Real Man in the campaign has set a fundraising challenge. The males are competing to be the top fundraiser by the end of October. Wearing pink heightens awareness of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program and aids in their fundraising efforts.

“She would have been 61 this year,” Max said. “That’s why my goal is to raise $6,100.”

The youngster’s mother, Brianna Herndon, works for the American Cancer Society. She said, from infancy, her only child accompanied her to numerous cancer fundraising events. “He always talks to the participants and it’s made him an empathetic boy,” she said, noting, he also enjoys soccer and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Team Randori

Max was the center of attention at a Real Men “reveal” party on Sept. 28 in D.C., and has made an appearance on a local TV talk show. His parents, Brianna and Dennis, are sharing Max’s appeal on Facebook and Twitter, while administrators at Edgewater Elementary have tweeted about Max’s campaign.

The straight A student has raised nearly $2,000, in amounts from $5 to $100, on his website .

Gil Genn, a few decades older than Max, is also in the pink of things. A Maryland state delegate from 1986 to 1998, Genn said, “I’ve been wearing pink every day, including the classic pink ribbon on my lapel. I have pink ties, socks, and shirts in some type of pink, plus an all-pink golf outfit consisting of a pink polo and shorts.

Brett Hovington of Capital Custom Clothiers in Annapolis loaned him a pair of pink mother-of-pearl cuff links to wear for business and formal events, plus some neck ties.

Now a partner in the Bellamy Genn Group, LLC, a new Annapolis lobbying firm, Genn’s initial involvement with breast cancer advocacy was during his first job right out of college. He was a member of the staff of U.S. Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana.

“Marvella, his wife, was one of the first public figures to come out and say ‘I have breast cancer’ in 1971. She underwent a mastectomy followed by radiation and chemotherapy treatments. First Lady Betty Ford said she felt Marvella was an inspiration to all women with breast cancer,” said Genn.

In 1974, Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy.

“My job,” Genn said, “was to come up with research on breast cancer. I helped write the speeches Marvella would give to breast cancer survivors and cancer groups at the time. She also wrote a book about her experiences. Tragically, she only lived a few years longer before passing away from breast cancer in 1979.”

He noted a sister-in-law Pamela Genn, diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29, is a proud survivor. “She had a mastectomy which is rare for someone that young. Our family lived through the diagnosis, fear and trauma, but more than 30 years later, she is a survivor.

“She is very inspirational.”

A good friend of his, Jacquie Cohen Roth, lost a sister to breast cancer and has an aunt who survived it.

Like Max, Genn’s fundraising goal has a numerical significance. “I expect to meet and exceed my goal of $3,600,” he said.

Genn said the number 18 is pronounced Chai in Hebrew, which also means the “significance of life.” He and Ms. Cohen Roth, whom he calls his “Boo,” are fundraising together and 18 times 2 is 36 and that’s why they set the goal of $3,600. Carrying a tote bag filled with pink donation collection canisters, Cohen Roth visited merchants along Maryland Avenue and asked them to place the cans in their businesses. They accepted her request, put the cans on display and are collecting change for Genn’s Real Men fundraising campaign.

Importance of Women Learning Martial Arts

Everyday here in the United States one in three women are attacked in their lifetime, don’t be a statistic. Female self-defense is becoming a growing trend among woman of all ages, especially those who live and go to college. All women live with a certain level of risk for crime. In fact, a female between the ages 15 to 21 today has a 1 in 4 chance of having a violent crime committed against her; crimes such as rape, carjacking or purse snatching.

The fact is many women that end up being a victim of raped never thought of it. Do you think that they thought they were safe too? Don’t you think they lock their doors, don’t go to ready-teller machines after dark, and don’t go to the “bad” parts of town? They probably didn’t think much about self-defense either. Martial arts are quickly becoming the protection of choice for many females throughout the world. It requires no special license, no possibilities of equipment malfunction and it can go anywhere with you. If you have experience a situation whereby you felt powerless and out of control, self-defense classes may be just the thing for you.

Fear and denial are debilitating emotions that keep us from exploring our universe, expanding our horizons and facing the unknown with confidence. If you can somehow get past the fear that keeps you from facing the reality of the evil in our society, you can work to gain the confidence that will help protect you against that evil. Taking a course in self-defense like (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) plus acquiring non-lethal self-defense weapons are 2 major contributors to not only helping you exude an aura of confidence but being able to take control of any situation where you are feeling threatened.

There are numerous other benefits to be gained from studying Mixed Martial Arts. The most obvious are self-defense. However, along with personal empowerment, there are also health benefits that are second to none. Increases in stamina, cardiovascular exercise, improvement in flexibility and routine physical activity are all aspects that you will benefit from. Other great bonuses are increases in focus, self-control, meditation and stress relief. Depending on which type of self-defense you have chosen, the benefits could vary. Thai kickboxing would be great cardio, Jeet Kune Do would increase flexibility tremendously, or Karate could increase self-control.

Self-defense for women it’s not all about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo or how to handle a Taser or to shoot a gun. Learn self-defense and be confident that when the time comes, you’ll be able to defend yourself. There’s no time like the present!

People often think that they couldn’t fight because they’ve never been in a situation where they wanted to fight, but the moment you’re faced with a life or death situation, that it’s straightforward to fight. But you need to know how to fight back for that instinct to be effective. You need to break through that emotional barrier you’ve instilled and been confident that you can protect yourself.

Why Women Should Consider Martial Arts

Why Women Should Consider Martial Arts

Do you want to be healthy and strong at the same time? Well, it’s actually simple. All you have to do is to choose martial arts and start training on a regular basis. Combine this with enough rest and good diet and you will be on your way to be a sexy beast. At the start of your martial art journey, the process might get intimidating, especially that you are a woman. However, once you get over it, you will definitely enjoy a variety of benefits.

Some of the reasons why you must consider martial arts are as follows:

  • Martial Arts is More Than Just Kickboxing

There are tons of available martial art styles for every level. From traditional karate that uses a variety of kicking, defensive, and striking moves to Tang Soo Do that develops self-worth and physical strength.

  • Develop Physical Strength in No Time

The moves and skills learnt through all martial arts will help you build fitness and physical strength while encouraging stamina and good posture. It makes martial arts a good all around activity.

  • Meditation

Martial arts and meditation frequently go hand in hand. Both needs focus on breathing to develop control. Several techniques are used often in classes and may be adopted whenever you are facing stressful situation.

  • Build Confidence

By improving your mental and physical strength, you’ll feel more confident. Then, this confidence can have a lot of advantages through every aspect of your professional and personal life.

  • Develop Mental Well-Being

Most martial arts are based on various disciplines developing control and focus. For instance, Jiu Jitsu has emphasis on cultivating the body and mind, teaching ways to control one’s frustration and anger.

  • Sense of Achievement

One of the renowned martial arts is Kung Fu and it means achievement through good effort. Most martial arts follow colored belt system, which progresses from white to orange then to blue, brown, and green, culminating in black belt. It means that you have other belts to aim for.


  • Family Favorite

The classes on martial arts are available for every age group, which makes this a good activity for everyone in the family to be involved in. Every level is catered for adults, children, beginners, and some advanced students.

  • Protect Yourself

More often than not, martial arts are associated with self-defense and while there’s lot more to it than that, most skills learnt may equip women with confidence that they can protect themselves if they want to.

  • Women Only

A lot of classes now are tailored specifically for women, frequently with a focus on weight loss and self-defense movements. Therefore, you may join a class anytime you want knowing that there are several advantages for your body and yourself as well.

  • Do the Things You Never Thought You Can

Martial arts may often seem intimidating, yet through developing and teaching a series of skills based on the key principles, such lessons may be applied to every aspect of life. This only means that you could surprise yourself in what you really like to achieve.