RANCHO SANTA FE — Rancho Santa Fe residents Phil and Amy Mickelson are being honored by Men Against Breast Cancer at the eighth annual Think Pink & Blue Fashion Event on April 8 at Neiman Marcus in Fashion Valley.
The event is being hosted by Lena Evans, a noted local philanthropist.
“This is a great way to raise awareness of breast cancer and the important role men play in being a caring and supportive partner when the family is faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer,” Evans said.
Amy Mickelson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Because of the grace and dignity with which the couple has handled this crisis, they will receive the Gloria Heyison Inspiration Award.
“I can think of no other family that has taken such a deeply personal journey and opened up their struggles for all to share and see how they worked together as a loving family to do everything necessary for Amy. What a great blueprint for all to follow,” said Marc Heyison, founder and president of Men Against Breast Cancer.
The award was named in honor of Heyison’s mother, a 19-year breast cancer survivor.
“I am glad I can do something in her honor instead of her memory,” he said.
Because Phil Mickelson will be playing in the Masters in Augusta, Ga., on the night of the event, his sister Tina will receive the award on the couple’s behalf.
Heyison gives Evans the lion’s share of the credit for the local event.
“‘The Real Housewives of D.C.’ filmed at one of our events,” he said. “Lena Evans saw it and reached out on Facebook and wanted to do a fundraiser in San Diego. She has spearheaded the whole event.”
Heyison said he thinks the idea for the organization began in the back of his mind when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The whole family went with her to every doctor appointment and every chemotherapy session.
“We all went 95 percent of the time. We were all there,“ he said. “I am not saying that to pat ourselves on the back. She was always there for us.“
He first began a golf tournament in 1993 to profit the American Cancer Association.
“The goal was to get underserved women to gain access to the same quality of care my mother had,” he said. “We started the nonprofit Gloria Heyison Breast Cancer Association.”
Getting men involved started in 1996, he said.
“How it happened was that one of my board of directors in the D.C. area was a man who happened to be a breast surgeon. He was getting a lot of men coming to him asking for advice about how to be a caregiver,” he said.
That was the catalyst for Maryland-based Men Against Breast Cancer.
“We are the only national nonprofit whose mission is to educate and empower men to help the women we love,” he said. “Our symbol is blue and pink ribbons which shows the partnership between men and women.”
During their workshops, “Partners in Survival,” men learn how to give quality, meaningful support to their stricken women.
“He needs to make sure the woman knows you love her and will be with her every step of the way, side-by-side,” he said. “Have open and honest conversations and it’s OK to be afraid and to share that fear. If you are not afraid, there is something wrong with you.”
Heyison has given the workshops in 35 states and in Canada, and regardless of race, religion, age or culture, fear is the great equalizer, the feeling of uncertainty and helplessness.
“The issue is they want information to help them and there is not a lot out there for them,” he said.
Men Against Breast Cancer offers a blue print and tools, workshops, books and a website, he said.
The workshops are given nationwide in conjunction with health care institutions.
To learn more about Men Against Breast Cancer, visit menagainstbreastcancer.org or contact Heysion at (240) 481-9352 or (866) 547-MABC or 6222.