With a name like “Mammo Man,” it’s easy to picture a Neanderthal posing with a victorious grin on his hairy face alongside a freshly killed mammoth elephant. But a mammoth elephant is not the right kind of “mammo” and David Combellack, in his neat white tuxedo and fedora, doesn’t bring Neanderthal to mind.
“Mammo Man” is a play on the word mammogram and part of Marshall Cancer Services and Images of Hope’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Combellack is the first community member to be selected “Mammo Man” in Placerville, but he won’t be the last. At Marshall’s Breast Cancer Awareness event in Placerville on Oct. 19, there were six contestants for the position and Wendy Goossen, director of Marshall Cancer Services, said she already has four who have volunteered to run in 2014.
Mike Pettibone, Mike Henderson, Rick Lawton, Dr. Michael Berry, Dr. Brian Goldsmith and Combellack competed to see who could raise the most money for Marshall’s Cancer Resource Center in the month of October.
Each contestant came up with their own costume for the Oct. 19 event and strutted down the runway between the Bowtie Barbership and Special Effects on Main Street during the Art and Wine Festival.
“We were all very artistic,” said Combellack, whose white tux was donated by his cousins at Combellack’s Store. His wife Susan, a cancer survivor herself, trimmed a white fedora and added a dapper pink-and-black-striped umbrella to Combellack’s ensemble which included a pink cumberband, bow tie, handkerchief and socks.
Combellack smoked the competition by raising $1,500 to go to the Cancer Resource Center’s art and therapy classes offered for cancer patients and their families. The outfit helped, but Combellack credits his win with his determination not to lose and his stroll in full costume down Cedar Ravine to lower Main and back. “I asked every person I saw to get into their wallets,” said Combellack.
A member of the Placerville Rotary Club, Combellack also visited the Cameron Park and Pollock Pines Rotary clubs to enlist their support. Then he found some pink buckets to collect his donations and figured out a way for people to donate online. “That was later in the month,” said Combellack. “But I still have some money that was donated after the contest was over to add to the pot.”
Combellack, an attorney whose law offices are in his grandparents’ former home on Cedar Ravine, put pink lights in the windows of the building for October. He has long been a volunteer for various community efforts including being on the Marshall Hospital Board and the El Dorado Community Foundation. Volunteering in the cause of cancer services has a personal meaning for him.
“My mother died of breast cancer on the day we moved into this building,” said Combellack, “and my wife is a cancer survivor and a volunteer with Threads of Life, so I’ve helped with that as well.”
The new Mammo Man has set the bar high for future Mammo Men, and Marshall Cancer Services, along with help from the Placerville Downtown Association and El Dorado Arts Council, is determined to expand its “Pink in the Night” campaign for next October. This year, pink lights glowed on the Belltower and in the windows of most Main Street businesses in support of breast cancer awareness and the Mammo Men raised $2,000 for the Cancer Resource Center.
“Next year, we’d like to put pink lights on Broadway and Placerville Drive,” said Goossen. “Maybe the government buildings too. There are all kinds of opportunities to bring the community together in support of cancer awareness.”
To donate online for the Cancer Resource Center, visit www.marshallmedical.org/webforms/forms/FindDonation.shtml.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.