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'Pink tie guys' and sugar cream pies

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Terry Miller makes a killer sugar cream pie and yes, you can get one for a price. That’s not all he and four others have done to raise over $125,000 since June.

The five Pink Tie Guys for Susan G. Komen Central Indiana this summer were Miller, Tim DuVall, Himat Patel, Jason Spangler and Kyle Vannoni. Miller is director of technology and information systems at Fayette County Cooperation.

“The other gentlemen, like me, were nominated by others to be Pink Tie Guy. They are business professionals from other central Indiana communities whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer in the past and shared a commitment to support Komen Central Indiana through fund raising,” Miller said.

According to the Susan G. Komen website, the Susan G. Komen Central Indiana Pink Tie Guys are partners in the Komen promise to save lives and end breast cancer. In conjunction with the annual Pink Tie Ball, the Pink Tie Guys are leaders who attest to the powerful fact that breast cancer is a disease that knows no boundaries. They bring a male voice to the urgency of finding cures.

Fund raising began June 1 and ended Sept. 8 at the Pink Tie Ball in Indianapolis. The Pink Tie Ball is an event that raises funds through silent and live auctions as well as proceeds from ticket sales.

The team of five raised over $125,000 for Komen’s services, support and research initiatives.

Miller decided to take on the challenge after he lost his wife to cancer.

“My wife of 28 years, Debbie, passed away in 2012 from inflammatory breast cancer nine months after diagnosis. At the time, we did not know a lot about the many resources, support and services available for breast cancer patients in rural communities,” Miller explained.

“Since her death, I share our family’s breast cancer story in a hope to help people know what the possible support exists in the community with support from Komen Central Indiana, support which comes from fundraising.”

Miller and others raised funds in various ways.

“I fundraised through networking with personal and professional contacts as well as corporate sponsorship. Social media was a large part of sharing our family’s breast cancer story, which included a link to a website to donate,” Miller said.

He and his daughters hosted a Pink Tie Pint event at an Indianapolis brewery, Flat 12 Bierwerks. A dollar from every pint sold and a percentage of food purchases went towards the campaign. Anyone donating $50 or more will get one of Miller’s sugar cream pies.

“I have a lot of pies to make ....”

Miller decided to do the fundraiser for Komen after he learned about Pink Tie Guy. His daughter may have roped him into it.

“My youngest daughter, Melissa, has been a volunteer for Komen Central Indiana for three years. She shared with me her idea of my being a Pink Tie Guy and nominated me.”

“The Pink Tie Guy and Pink Tie Ball funds help reach Komen’s goal to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the next eight years,” Miller said. “With my daughters and granddaughters in mind, that was a goal I could help support.”

This was a first for Miller.

“Since my wife’s death, I’ve been looking for a way to give back or pass along all the kindness, charity, and support my family received when my wife was diagnosed. If allowed, I’d do this again and continue to keep sharing the message of the importance for breast cancer support and services in rural communities.”