His name…. Dusty Showers, His profession…. Creepy Creatures Pest and Wildlife Buster, His passion…..Unusual Breast Cancer Advocate.
It may be an unusual sight to see this 6’1” 39 year old man sporting a size 46 bra and a pink cowboy hat, but it certainly isn’t an uncommon one when Dusty Showers attends a breast cancer fundraising event. Dusty’s unusual advocacy journey started in 2005 when the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® event came to Tampa. His ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, were walking in the event and suggested he come out and volunteer. So he did. He joined Camp Hydration where he passed out water and cheered on the walkers during their 3-Day, 60 mile journey. Afterwards he was hooked and was impacted by the event in a way, that to this day, he has trouble putting into words. He says, “It is awesome, you just need to be there…it’s like trying to describe a sunrise to someone that has never seen the sun before…”
The following year he crewed the event again and while hydrating walkers and offering motivation, one of his team members threw him a bra and in jest told him to wear it. He did and the rest is history……. as soon as Dusty put that bra on, walkers reacted. They smiled, laughed, hugged him, and thanked him for helping to keep them going. He knew at that point, this was something that he could do for them. In 2007, a friend created a custom bra just for him and the bras have been coming in ever since. But in 2009, Dusty decided that it was time to walk the walk. He raised over $7,000, laced up his shoes and walked alongside his friends and his fans. This past year, he attended two different 3-Day events, one in Boston and one in Tampa and Dusty plans to walk in two different events again in 2011.
As “The Bra Guy” Dusty has become a local celebrity in the Tampa area and he is asked to attend breast cancer events all over the region. Dusty and his story even gained national recognition when he was featured on Oprah’s “Man Makeovers” episode last year. But his efforts don’t stop there. When he is not working his day job of humane creature control, he can be found responding to one of his 3,000 Facebook fans offering encouragement and support, or volunteering for Viva Las Chicas, a non-profit organization that promotes breast self-awareness and offers assistance to breast cancer patients on the west coast of Florida.
Dusty does have concerns about being known only as “The Bra Guy.” He has stated “I love that people know me for wearing a bra…however, I want my impact on the fight against breast cancer to be so much deeper than some cat in a bra.” Dusty has created a website that elaborates on his experiences as an Unusual Breast Cancer Advocate. It features his perspective as an advocate, supporter, friend and father of two girls who have a family history of breast cancer and he shares his views on how this new life path continues to impact him.
In his blog titled “Devastatingly Pink” Dusty expresses his concern about turning the world pink.
“What we see today is a sea of pink…strong women surviving and thriving in spite of their breast cancer. My concern is that people see the strong women and “Survivor” attitude…but what they don’t see is the mastectomies, the financial devastation, the fear…the emotional turmoil…the real face of breast cancer. In not seeing the dark side, they are fooled by the lighter side.”
He is adamant about doing more than just spreading awareness. He reminds those he comes in contact with to Take Action. In his blog entry “Pink is Pointless” he says,
“What do you DO with that awareness? Will you do your self-exams? Will you do them the RIGHT way? If you are a guy, will you tell your wife, daughters and sisters to do them? Will you get your mammogram when you are supposed to? Will you help someone in the low part of the fight that is desperately struggling?”
So if you run into Dusty at your next breast cancer event don’t mistake this Bra Guy for a self-promoter. His countless hours of donated time, support, and inspiration speak much louder than his wardrobe of bras, and his passion for this cause is clearly evident in his actions.