ADA — An Ada resident was recently honored for his work with breast cancer issues by being selected to appear in a fund-raising 2011 Men of Oklahoma calendar.
Mike Wingo was selected to be included in the project by the Men of Oklahoma calendar committee based on his past work with several breast cancer organizations, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. The central Oklahoma affiliate of SGK receives 100 percent of the proceeds from the calendar sales.
“I had been seeing this calendar come out for the past couple of years and I was intrigued by it,” Wingo said. “The more I researched the Men of Oklahoma project, the more impressed I was. Now to be included among the pages of the latest edition is an honor that I deeply appreciate.”
The calendar features Oklahoma businessmen, health care professionals, students and others who have taken up the fight of breast cancer as their own. One well-known 2011 calendar subject is former Oklahoma University and Dallas Cowboy head coach Barry Switzer, who along with his son, son-in-law and grandsons, are included as Mr. September.
Wingo and his 12-year-old son Cooper are Mr. October.
“It was such a thrill to share this experience with Coop. As a father, I try to instill in him the passion to help others and to give back, and this was a great tool to do that and to share it as a father and son,” Wingo said.
The 2011 Men of Oklahoma calendar is the seventh rendition of the project first started in 2004. The idea blossomed from the finds of two sisters - Cris Shutt and Linda Crooks - and Linda’s husband, Steve, who were inspired by the courage of their close friend, Sheryl Auringer, in her fight against breast cancer. Sadly, Sheryl lost her battle in January 2009 at the age of 52. The project continues in memory of Sheryl’s spirit, courage and the love she gave to everyone.
“I never knew Sheryl, but I have grown to love her,” Wingo said.
Wingo has faced his own losses in the past year. Through social networking, he lends support and encouragement to breast and other cancer patients around the country, women and men he has come to call his “Survivor Warriors.” In the past eight months, three of his Survivor Warriors have also lost their battle.
“There have been great breakthroughs since the founding days of SGK when you couldn’t even use the words “breast cancer” in the news reports,” Wingo said. “As a result, women (and men) a lot of times suffered in silence. While that aspect has changed, there are still patients being diagnosed and there are still women (and men) dying of this disease so our work continues.”
Wingo began his work with breast cancer issues in April 2002 when a friend and co-worker Janet Campbell invited him to participate in a Dallas event called the Breast Cancer 3Day. The experience changed his life forever and set him on a course that eventually led him to earn the moniker of “Mike Pink Shoes” in the breast cancer community.
Wingo recently returned from the Dallas/Fort Worth 3Day for the Cure which raised more than $7 million for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There were 2,750 walkers who walked 60 miles in three days and a 425 all-volunteer crew who took care of the walkers. This was Wingo’s ninth 3Day event as a member of the crew.
A simple promise to himself to do what he could do in this fight has led him all over the United States, even to the Halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Wingo lobbied while wearing his trademark pink Converse Chuck Taylor tennis shoes.
“I have to think I am the only man in history to lobby Congress while wearing pink shoes,” Wingo said.
Wingo’s involvement has also led to his being a regular speaker to a variety of groups.
“I’ve spoken to as many as 1,500 people and to as few as a handful,” Wingo said. “The audience size doesn’t matter; I’ll gladly speak to anyone about my experiences with this issue.”
Wingo will be selling the 2011 Men of Oklahoma calendars for the remainder of the year. They are $10 each. If interested in purchasing calendars, phone Wingo at 580-399-3804 or e-mail him at email@example.com.