Pink – The New Black and Hope for Women

By Kimen Metzger, Harley’s Angels – Cruzin’ to Cure and “Survivor”

Women by nature will always respond to a call for help and when women are linked by the indiscriminate disease of breast cancer, a powerful source of passion is tapped. So, it is no surprise that nation-wide organizations, like Susan G. Komen, the Pink Ribbon Society, and numerous corporations, have joined forces to bring the community, the medical industry, and government together in the fight against breast cancer. Women, using what ever means they have to raise money and support, have changed the way we all perceive what was once the “unmentionable” cancer. Some roar through the streets on their glistening machines as spectators stop to watch them in awe. They are women, women on motorcycles. They are Harley’s Angels and they are Cruzin to Cure.

In 2001, the women of the Mancuso’s Harley Davidson, Area #1 Harley Owners Group (HOG) Ladies of Harley (LOH) wanted to join the crusade against breast cancer and started brain storming ways to raise money. What they didn’t realize at the time of conception, the power they possessed. After all, these women were not your ordinary band of fundraisers. They were strong, independent, intelligent professionals that also rode motorcycles! They had all ready demonstrated by choosing this hobby that they were passionate about life, fearless when it came to challenges, and connected by a common goal near to the heart of every woman. Mancuso Area #1 HOG had several hundred members so why not get some photos of the ladies and their bikes and print a calendar? They expected to sell their calendar at the HOG meetings to members, family and friends and raise several hundred dollars. It was going to be a simple project. They needed a photographer, a printer, and locations to capture the women and the bikes they loved to ride. So the work began but like the women who ride, there is nothing small and nothing simple! Accounts vary as to how the original idea evolved, but everyone credits Karen Hyde for much of the first calendar’s success. In 2001, just a year after learning to ride, she was Director of the Houston Area #1 Ladies of Harley. The group raised money for several good causes, “but the girls wanted something fun and different,” Hyde says, “and somehow, the idea for a calendar came up.”

The 2003, Harley’s Angels Cruzin to Cure calendar was released and was immediately well received. If anyone could describe the calendar, it was exciting, refreshing, and touched the hearts and souls of everyone who has ever been touched by the perils of breast cancer. For a small donation of $15.00, you could make a donation to breast cancer research, receive a personally unique calendar, and even get signatures of the ladies featured! The first year $60,000 dollars was donated to Baylor College of Medicine Breast Center to fight breast cancer through research. Could they do it again? You bet they can! The 2004 Calendar donated $40,000 to M.D. Anderson’s Research Programs. From then on Harley’s Angels made the decision to split all future proceeds equally between Baylor and M.D Anderson’s breast cancer research programs.

To broaden participation for the calendar, the group invites all women motorcycle enthusiast to become involved. They set up booths at festivals and numerous events throughout the Gulf Coast region. At one location, a small girl stopped at the booth, mesmerized by the gleaming cycle in front of her. Her mother said 5-year-old Hannah recognized the distinctive rumble of a Harley and wanted to ride one when she got older. “I sat her on my bike,” says Debbie Campbell, “and we took her picture. I love the fact that we’re a positive role model for girls like her.” They rarely encounter a negative reaction, “When people see us with our motorcycles and find out what we’re doing, they’ll make a donation even if they don’t need a calendar… A few have given $100 bills,” says Linda Riley. “People who know someone with cancer or who’ve been through it themselves—they’ll buy calendars for everyone they know,” says Karen Jordan. Though their efforts are to save the lives of women, it hasn’t been without heartache; calendar memorials honor members lost through cancer and motorcycle accidents. Harley’s Angels ongoing message is always wear helmets and protective clothing, strongly recommend that new riders take a motorcycle safety training course, and most importantly get mammograms annually.

In 2012, Harley’s Angels will celebrate their 10 years anniversary and recognized total donations of over $500,000 to the breast cancer research. Your donation provides a sense of community, a great calendar, and the Harley’s Angels experience!