Dennis Hower decided he would dye his beard pink if he raised $10,000 dollars for breast cancer. The President of Teamsters Local 773 has far out paced his initial goal of 10,000. By the end of October 2018, Hower will have raised more than $40,000 for Real Men Wear Pink, dyed his beard a bright shade of fushia, and committed to getting a brand new tattoo. “If there’s one thing I hope people take away from this, it’s the importance of getting checked, especially with breast cancer,” finished Hower.
This campaign started, as many do, with the spirit of union members. Several breast cancer survivor sisters of Teamsters Local 773 annually take part in the Making Strides walk for the American Cancer Society in the Lehigh Valley. Members came to Dennis this year and asked him to take part in the fundraiser Real Men Wear Pink, which raises awareness and fundraise for the American Cancer Society.
As President of Teamsters Local 773, Dennis has seen the impact cancer and especially breast cancer has had on his members. One of his members was diagnosed with an incredibly aggressive form of breast cancer a few years ago. “She had a clean mammogram and a few months later found a lump through self-examination, recalled Hower. “She didn’t have many sick days left and she was about to through this brutal treatment to save her life. We went in as a union and negotiated a sick bank at the workplace. Her fellow union members and co-workers, gave her 100 sick days”. This union sister is now a 5 year survivor.
“The last thing anyone going through this needs to worry about is not having a job, or not getting better in time to go back to work”, Hower stated. “It’s not just the disease that takes its toll, it’s also the treatment, sometimes very harsh treatments, and the recuperation”. Hower pointed to the important role unions play as advocates for their members, especially in regards to healthcare. Time off for leave and the protection of their healthcare is absolutely crucial to those battling cancer and their families.
“This is an honor for me. I have met so many amazing survivors. . . People I knew, but didn’t know they had gone through this”, reflected Hower. At the Teamsters Women’s Conference in Florida earlier this Fall, Dennis hit more than $10,000. Afterward, Hower set a second goal of $40,000, this time Hower would take it upon himself to get a pink ribbon tattoo and include initials decided upon by his top ten largest donors. “Throughout this, I am amazed by the people that volunteer their time, and their support to this cause”.
“The least thing, I could do is dye my beard, that’s the least thing”, said Hower. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is constantly amazed by the generosity and community spirit of the Labor Movement. Dennis Hower has exemplified that dedication. We thank him for his incredible work.