Men try on women’s apparel to fight cancer, heart disease

Published 8:36 am Monday, February 28, 2011

Dave Yerhart, owner of Y-Waste Removal, asks a group of shoppers at Oak Park Mall for a donation during the Red, White and Pink fundraiser. - Jason Schoonover/

See a photo gallery from the event

Local business owner Dave Yerhart dressed like a woman and flashed a little leg Saturday.

Days after being a nominee for the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year, Yerhart donned a white see-through blouse, a black and white skirt, and carried a bouquet of pink flowers across a runway at Oak Park Mall Saturday — for a good cause.

Yerhart wasn’t the only man to dress in women’s clothing and strut his stuff Saturday for Red, White and Pink, an event to raise money and awareness to combat cancer and heart disease. Attendees could donate $10 to volunteer a man to dress up and hit the run way.

Email newsletter signup

About 20 men were nominated. The men had two choices: take to the stage or donate $25 to stay in men’s clothing. Only one man opted to buyout of the runway, and that was because of a time constraint.

In fact, Yerhart and most of the men didn’t shy away from his attire; in fact, they embraced it.

“It’s an honor,” Yerhart said. “It’s a great feeling because I’m giving back to the community.”

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans organized the event as part of American Heart Health month. Thrivent raised more than $1,800 through the event. The money will be split between the American Heart Association and Lyle Area Cancer.

“Every penny we bring in is more than we had yesterday,” said Kathy Wichmann, a financial associate with Thrivent Financial.

Wichmann said organizers opted to have men dress up as a fun way to attract people to the event. After the men debuted their new attire and busted a few dance moves on a stage in the old Maurices store, the men took purses and went around the mall and other nearby businesses to seek donations.

Former Lyle Area Cancer chairman Gary Ziegler — also known as Gorgeous Gary — dressed up twice.

“It’s great,”he said. “It just raises awareness for Lyle Area Cancer. Anything we can do to let people know our message.”

Dressing up and raising money weren’t the only goals of the event.

About 19 groups, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Hormel Institute, Lyle Area Cancer and Hy-Vee, set up booths to promote healthy living.