MEDFORD, Ore. -- Beginners in taekwondo wear a white belt and more advanced students can proudly tie a black belt around their waist. Daryl Griggs knows all about these colors because he owns the United Martial Arts Academy in Medford. This month, he's focusing on another color -- pink. That's because he's one of Southern Oregon's men in pink.
"It makes people turn," said Griggs. "When I go to the gym wearing pink and lift weights, I get that turn of the head. It's a great way to get that conversation started."
Members of Real Men Wear Pink spend the whole year, especially October, raising awareness for breast cancer. The group is part of the American Cancer Society and it's their second year in Southern Oregon. The program is looking for more men in pink to help raise money for breast cancer research.
Griggs said being a part of Real Men Wear Pink is personal because he's seen friends and family fight cancer. He said he hopes the money he raises will eventually lead to a cure.
"I'm selfish," said Griggs. "I don't like losing people, so that's what it comes down to."
Men can join the program regardless of how much experience they have with being an advocate.
As a man in pink, Griggs uses his platform to inspire the next generation of advocates. A lot of young students pour into the United Martial Arts Academy each day to learn taekwondo. Students said Griggs always tells them they're capable of everything, but he also teaches them another definition of the word "fighter."
"It's amazing coming in here and seeing him in pink every single day," said high school senior Cady Hall. "He has so many pink shirts, like more than me. I think it's so great for the community and I've seen him take pictures with random people."
Many martial arts students follow their mentor's lead and train in Real Men Wear Pink shirts.
"I don't want anyone to lose any more friends or family," said sixth grade student AJ Griggs.
Members of Real Men Wear Pink of Southern Oregon aim to raise $2,500 before the end of the year. You can find information more information about Real Men Wear Pink of Southern Oregon here. You can donate directly to Griggs' fundraiser here.
For more information about the United Martial Arts Academy click here.