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Countdown to a breakthrough; Hormel Institute scientists to take first plunge for cancer as a team

Not only do these scientists conduct cancer research — on Saturday, they will plunge for it.

For the first time in the history of Paint the Town Pink,  a team from The Hormel Institute will be part of the Plunging for Pink  at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at East Side Lake. It marks the kickoff for annual event, Jan. 27-Feb. 11.

For more on Paint the Town Pink, see the special section in today’s edition.

The nine-member team, calling themselves “Scientists Making a Splash for Breast Cancer Research,” will join scores of other teams who will brave the chilly waters to raise funds.

“I thought it was good to show our support; they give us so much,” said Institute organizer Marina Ferrari, referring to how the PTTP contributions each year come back to the Institute for research.

Fellow scientist Matteo Astone, who helped develop the idea, added he felt that community members seeing the scientists involved in the effort was a good thing.

And, you won’t miss them. The nine-member group will be wearing lab coats  —  dyed pink — to mark the event.

The scientists that will be taking part in the Plunge for Pink this Saturday head back into the warmth of The Hormel Institute, a feeling they won’t be getting Saturday when they take part in the Plunging for Pink. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“It will be interesting; we all come from warm countries,” said Astone with a laugh, referencing the cold water.

On a more serious note, cancer research is not only a vocation for some of the scientists, it is personal.

Humberto DeVitto said his father has been treated for prostate and colon cancer; Ali Calderon’s late grandfather also had prostate cancer.

Ferrari was excited to find that almost $200 had been pledged to the cause on Wednesday, but said confidently, “We expect more.”

Other team members are Anmbreen Jamroze, Jehangir Nazir Ahmed, Adrian Mansini, Sergio Gradilone, and Moeez Rathore.