Cancer awareness week kicks off with Project Hope

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Advanced Mechanical in Bismarck is usually known as the Blue Crew.

“We have them turn in their blue T-shirts and hand out whatever color we focus on,” Vice President Jami Benz said.

But Monday, they’re wearing maroon.

The HVAC service company is taking part in Project Hope– a week meant to raise awareness for cancer.

“No matter who you speak to, there’s always somebody who has cancer and we just want to bring that awareness,” Benz said.

She added that the cause is personal for many employees, especially Project Manager Rhett Gentzkow.

“It’s hit me pretty personally with my dad three times. Pancreatic, prostate and bladder. It’s kinda hard to talk about, but it’s just a huge support to, like Brian said, financially it affects families, and just support of it goes a long ways,” Gentzkow said.

The weeklong event features a different color each day to represent different cancer. Monday is maroon for head and neck cancer, and Tuesday is blue for colorectal cancer.

Owner Brian Benz says it’s important that his company gives back to the community.

“We want to be a big part of the community, and cancer strikes so many people we know,” Benz said.

The event is sponsored by the Bismarck Cancer Center. Marketing Director Sara Kelsch says the week is a good reminder of the importance of early detection.

“It’s an overall reminder of take care of yourself, watch for things, get your mammogram,” Kelsch said.

Although Kelsch says the coronavirus has impacted the event, they were able to offer businesses now working online a way to join in.

“Our numbers are down a little bit but we’re still seeing a lot of excitement and a lot of support for it,” Kelsch said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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