CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville and Albemarle County community leaders are teaming up with the American Cancer Society in October to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment in an effort to eradicate the disease once and for all.

On Wednesday, October 3, the American Cancer Society held its official kickoff event during which a few of the nine participating distinguished community members celebrated the starts to their campaigns.

“When they asked me to do it, I jumped at the chance,” Albemarle County Police Chief Ron Lantz said.

For the first time ever, the American Cancer Society is recruiting Charlottesville and Albemarle County community leaders for its Real Men Wear Pink fundraiser.

“It’s just been a wonderful opportunity for me to give back in that part of this community with my position that I have as chief of police,” Lantz said.

Lantz is serving his community and protecting the lives of women who have battled, are currently battling, or may in the future battle breast cancer.

“We just had an officer who’s still going through this right now - breast cancer - on the police department, so it really hit close to home for us,” Lantz said.

Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter is one of the eight other community leaders participating in the campaign.

“My family has been affected by cancer and so it has some meaning for me personally, and then also on a professional level cancer is the number one killer of firefighters and we do see a higher incidents of breast cancer in female firefighters as well,” Baxter said.

Juandiego Wade, the Charlottesville school board chair, along with Lantz and Baxter, has a goal of raising $2,500 by the end of the month.

“This is something that impacts practically, in some form or fashion, everyone in this community,” Wade said. “I think everyone can point to someone in their life that they can reach out to that has been impacted by cancer.”

All of these pink-wearing men agree that the Charlottesville-Albemarle community is perfectly suited to help eradicate breast cancer.

“We have a very giving community here,” Lantz said. “It’s just something we do that's in our DNA, people that live here, work here, like to give and they like to take part in something that’s good, that’s giving back to the community.”

The Charlottesville branch of the American Cancer Society hopes to raise $25,000 through this campaign, and is thankful for all the support.

“Absolutely, incredibly grateful that they have decided to become a part of our campaign and commit to fundraise and raise awareness throughout the month of October,” Susanna Blauch of the American Cancer Society said. “We really couldn't do it without the support of our community members.”

The Real Men Wear Pink campaign runs through the end of October.

To check out the full list of participating community members or make a donation, click here.