By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 7/6/19
HARRISONBURG — A local business owner has raised over $20,000 for the American Cancer Society, specifically for breast cancer research and awareness — and he plans to raise more this year.
Two years ago, the group came to speak to the Harrisonburg Rotary Club, of which Paul Riner, owner of Riner Rentals, is a member. They talked about a campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer called “Real Men Wear Pink.”
Riner said it was a “right place, right time” situation and that he and about five others decided to participate. Riner had not heard of the campaign, and having lost his own mother to cancer, decided it would be a way to honor her and help the cause.
“It’s something that means a lot to me,” he said.
Riner came up with some unique strategies for collecting donations. Everything from social media posts and email chains, to promotions such as for every $100 raised he would donate pink roses to Sentara RMH.
He got the whole family involved. For people who donated above a certain amount, Riner would bake rice crispy treats with his kids and they would deliver them to the donor’s door.
The campaign gave him a chance to connect with friends — and reconnect with his mother’s friends.
“It’s been a unique experience,” Riner said. His ways of reaching donors and peaking the interest of matching donors paid off. Over the course of two years, Riner has helped raise more than $20,000 for breast cancer research.
The local campaign in general last year was number one in the state of Virginia with $50,000 raised and Riner was the number one “Real Man” in Virginia, with a fundraising total of $11,799.
“This campaign is an amazing opportunity for men in Rockingham and Augusta counties to take a leadership role in the fight against breast cancer,” said Natalie Massing, communications director for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
“Every dollar raised helps save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research and patient support.”