Friday the 13th is socially associated with horror, random cases of events, and mysterious happenings. But for philanthropist Ken Patrick, that date will now stand symbolically as an act of bravery and putting words to action.
“I had my first Prostate exam on Friday the 13th—a life altering experience,” he shared both proud and with a little discomfort.
It’s a taboo topic, one that many choose to shy away from and feel that it may put a dent in their masculinity, but Prostate Cancer and any other forms of Cancer could care less if you feel disempowered or if your ego is squashed. When it attacks, it takes all the being in you to overcome and fact is, some don’t.
“And that’s why as life altering an experience as it was, it was still good to hear, “You’re ok.” And that’s good because this stuff is taking us out,” Patrick warns. “Prostate Cancer is so ignored. Nobody talks about it.”
After growing up and admiring strong men around him whom he viewed as his mentors, today, Ken Patrick is a man of action. Speaking on a subject and allowing it to go physically untouched is something he just cannot do. “This is how committed I am. Speak it and live it.”
One of his numerous mentors, shared with him that, “‘the portrait of Jesus is being a man of action’. [So] I’m not going to sit back. Whatever I can do, or feel compelled to do, I’m going to do it.”
As the creator of Beau Ideal, a high-fashion event production company, based in Chicago, Ken and his talented staff of nine are combining the elements of fashion and marking their presence in the community as well.
Recently, the educator/philanthropist took on a joint venture with Susan G. Komen’s Chicago Chapter, a foundation dedicated to the education and research about the causes, treatment, and the search for a cure to Cancer; and the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center in Lamont, Illinois, to create the iamPinkandBlue campaign, which seeks to raise funds and awareness about Breast and Prostate Cancer.
“We’ve built great relationships with Susan G. Komen and the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, so between those two sources we are getting in statistics, we’re handing out literature and at the same time we’re trying to get people on our team and others who are part of the movement to become the experts so that we can talk about this stuff at events. It’s important to have a cause,” he believes.
“When stuff is brought to me, it must be because there’s something that I should be doing—either on a real small level or something as grand as what we’re trying to do here with iamPinkandBlue,” expresses Patrick.
As an educator, Ken’s focus is to use his company, Beau Ideal, to produce fashion shows that would in turn raise money to help send at-risk youth off to college.
There was an initial reservation about jumping on board with Breast cancer, Patrick admits. “Everybody in the fashion industry does breast cancer and it’s nothing wrong with that; it should be done. So it wasn’t something that did hit home until, I said well, let me explore it.”
This cause was not brought to Ken on a personal nor physical note. It was, however, a full-circle call-to-action.
While exploring the effects of cancer and how to incorporate it with Beau Ideal, Ken began receiving an abundance of emails and Facebook messages from friends and loved ones that are and/or have been connected to cancer.
The iamPinkandBlue campaign is a movement that aims to incorporate the sensibilities of Beau Ideal while also producing events and raising money with purpose and meaning behind them.
“iamPinkandBlue came from my brand colors being pink and blue. Light blue is prostate cancer. So I just start putting it out there and then all of a sudden I started getting phone calls from folks I knew, emails from models who were saying people in their family had literally either died or going through it now.”
There are three events, Larger Than Life Fashion Show, Men of Hope Honors, and The Extra Mile, included in this campaign that will highlight the importance of men getting a prostate exam and women staying on point with their regular check-ups, with the inclusion of an annual breast exam.
The Extra Mile is the main event and will be driven by the fashion community. The goal is to get 200 people to walk one-mile downtown. “These models will walk a very influential mile in Chicago and literally walk it like a one-mile runway.”
The models are asked to commit to raising $100/each to total $10-thousand to be split between Susan G. Komen-Chicago Affiliate and the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center.
“One of the coolest things about it all and what I love about it is that we’re having people donate shoes from people that they know who are struggling, been effected by, or have passed from breast/prostate cancer and the models are really going to walk a mile in their shoes.”
Patrick smiles, “I don’t know why I get so emotional about that part. But I guess it’s like in honor of these people who’ve passed and/or suffering and it’s showing our support.”
The difference between sympathy is compassion is that compassion urges you to do more than sit on a feeling. It makes you feel compelled to do something.
“Our quest in life, I believe should be, not to be sympathetic but to be more compassionate so that you see it and know there’s a need,” analyzes Patrick. “The reason [this campaign and cancer] was revealed to me is because I am suppose to do something about it.”
Ken Patrick’s personal mantra: Live For Impact; suits him well.
I Live” Fashion Show and Celebration of Life
Society Art Gallery
2140 W. Fulton St. 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
“The Extra Mile” Charity Walk
North Michigan Ave.