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Norfolk Firefighter Crowned Mr. Breast Fest 2013

Mike Carroll, a City of Norfolk firefighter was crowned the first Mr. Breast Fest at the Beyond Boobs, Inc. inaugural Breast Fest held on Saturday, June 22 at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach.

Carroll entered the contest as a tribute to fellow firefighter Sara Jones who lost her battle with breast cancer on February 16, 2013. Jones was medically retired from the City of Norfolk Fire Department and served as a volunteer coach on the ODU Lady Monarch’s basketball team at the time of her death.

“It takes a big man to wear a bra,” Carroll said jokingly after being crowned. Carroll won the title based on raising the most money for Beyond Boobs! amongst the contestants

“What I urge everyone to do is to get involved with Beyond Boobs. I got involved because of Sara, and with her passing, I am committed now, more than ever to helping [this organization],” Carroll said.

Mike Carroll. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Whimsical “Mr. Breast Fest” crown. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Winning bra highlights Sara Jones’ association with the City of Norfolk Fire Department. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Beyond Boobs! Inc. was founded six years ago by Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch as “a small group of young women with breast cancer who came together to help love each other through it.”

Members quickly discovered that too many of them had experienced delayed diagnosis based on “being too young” or “other myths” about breast cancer.

Now a 501 (c) 3 non-profit health organization, Beyond Boobs! Inc. is dedicated to healing and saving lives by supporting young women diagnosed with breast cancer, while providing breast health education for all.

Awareness attire helps raise money for Beyond Boobs! Inc. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

The non-profit touts itself as being ‘not your typical support group.’

“We are similar to other breast cancer organizations in that we believe education about breast health, particularly for younger women, and men as well, is critical,” Charlene Cattoi, Southside Hampton Roads Support Group Facilitator told Hampton Roads Social. “But that’s where the similarities end.”

Beyond Boobs! is not interested in duplicating already successful programs and services available in the community, Cattoi said. Rather, the non-profit says it focuses on helping members address the “here and now” of the disease. Not the “whys.”

“My personal motto is ‘I don’t have time for that,’ ” Cattoi said. “[Meaning] you’ve got to move on – take action for your health and be a Chick in Charge.”

Charlene Cattoi dances with Mr. Breast Fest contestant Dave Lukeson. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

More than 100 people attended Breast Fest. Organizers see the new event as not only another opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the organization’s programs and services, but yet another opportunity to encourage those battling breast cancer, survivors, family members and supporters to get together to celebrate life.

“For those we love, and those we’ve lost.” Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Friends and supporters enjoy a beer (or two) at Breast Fest. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Additionally, holding the Mr. Breast Fest pageant exemplifies the members’ approach of injecting humor to an otherwise humorless diagnosis of breast cancer.

Music by the River Boyz (with some assistance from Mr. Breast Fest). Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

“Living life to the fullest” is what Beyond Boobs! is all about. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

In fact, the name Beyond Boobs! was deliberately chosen to call attention to the non-profit’s “Breast Health Action” message, using humor to get women beyond the obstacles to early detection. The name, according to Beyond Boobs! “also signifies our determination to get beyond the disease that started in our breasts and live life to the fullest.”

Survivors! Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Mr. Breast Fest contestants included Dave Lukeson, owner of Trinity Tattoo; Charlie Nowicki, driver of Ma’am O’Gram – a “blinged-out black and pink Peterbilt with a mission to truck cross-country with the Beyond Boobs! Message, “Keep ‘em for the Long Haul – Early Detection Saves Lives;” Hugh Tierney, a real estate developer and former Marine; and Ed Lynch, a male breast cancer survivor.

100 percent from Breast Fest will go to Beyond Boob’s support group programs and services.

Mr. Breast Fest contestants from left to right: Dave Lukeson, Mike Carroll, Ed Lynch, Charlie Nowicki, and Hugh Tierney. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Charlie Nowicki with Ma’am O’Gram. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Breast cancer survivor, Ed Lynch. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

Photographer Rico Marcelo happy to spread awareness about male breast cancer. Photo by Ryan J. Molina Rico Marcelo Photography

“Boobers” (breast cancer individuals and survivors) and “Boostiers” (friends of Beyond Boobs!) pose with “Boy-Ber” (male Boober), Mike Carroll. Photo by Rico Marcelo Photography

CLICK HERE to learn more about Beyond Boobs! Inc.

CLICK HERE to watch BREAST FEST 2013 video

CLICK HERE and HERE to see more photos from BREAST FEST 2013

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Comments (5)

  1. Rene Bowditch Thursday - 27 / 06 / 2013 Reply
    Omgosh HamptonRoadsSocial! This article is FABULOUS! You so "got" what Beyond Boobs! is all about - and expressed it beautifully and with the same spirit of fun that IS Beyond Boobs! Mary Beth and I look forward to meeting you all personally when we will be able to give you a proper Boober Hug of THANKS for promoting Breast Fest, photographing it, making that AMAZING video, and, now, this article. We and "The Girls" have been blessed by knowing you ALL. We hope this is the beginning of a long and happy relationship with you caring and dedicated folks!! Boober Hugs, Rene and Mary Beth, Cofounders, Beyond Boobs! Inc.
    • HRSocial Thursday - 27 / 06 / 2013 Reply
      We enjoyed being a part of Breast Fest! Your commitment to spreading awareness about breast health, and your enthusiasm for life fully (LIVING, LOVING, LAUGHING!!) even in the face of adversity, is infectious.
  2. Becca Ostman Thursday - 27 / 06 / 2013 Reply
    Thank you so much for supporting this event and Beyond Boobs!! I hope you guys will be at Breast Fest 2014 to capture all the highlights. The video and article rock!!
    • HRSocial Thursday - 27 / 06 / 2013 Reply
      If you'll have us, we'll be there! ;-)
  3. Deborah Friday - 28 / 06 / 2013 Reply
    I Just loved it. Wish I was there. HR Social is Fabulous.

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