Brandon Mendelson wants you to touch your breasts.

In fact, he and his wife Amanda are traveling across North America telling college women to do just that.

Mendelson, 25, is the college community organizer for the 1 in 8 Foundation, a nonprofit organization named for the number of women affected by breast cancer in the U.S.

Cancer is prevalent in Mendelson's family, and his grandmother survived breast cancer because she was screened early, he said.

"I knew if I had time to do something, (raising awareness) would be it," he said.

The couple began their trek in New York, drove to Washington, D.C., and then made their way to the Southeast. In the next four months, the Mendelsons plan to visit at least 50 college campuses.

According to 1 in 8 president and CEO Ken Vrana, 1 in 8 is different from most cancer organizations because it focuses on prevention, not a cure.

"While the money is obviously important," he said, "it doesn't mean as much as (Mendelson) leaving a university and having even just one girl say, 'You know what? I'm going to have a mammogram done next week.'"

While most 1 in 8 employees receive a commission for the money they raise, Mendelson - who calls himself cancer's butt-kicker - is working toward a grant that he says will further his efforts to "fight Generation Y's cancer epidemic."

Vrana said that Mendelson's tour has garnered interest in the foundation from major media entities like CNN, and although he could not divulge details, he said President Barack Obama "is going to do something very special for the foundation."

Beginning about a week ago, Mendelson and his wife drove from state to state sleeping wherever they could find someone willing to house them - but so far, he said, hotel owners have donated rooms, including one at Gainesville's Camellia Inn.

While Mendelson, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Albany, said the motive for adding Gainesville to the trip was his love for the Gator football team. He said that UF's size creates a great opportunity.

"I think we could really do some good for Gainesville if we get everyone together," he said.

During their two days in Gainesville, the Mendelsons spoke to Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan about their mission, donated health drinks to a local homeless shelter and met with GatorStrong, a UF cancer awareness group.

Laura Teisch, president of GatorStrong, said that she hopes the meeting with Mendelson will help publicize GatorStrong and its mission across the student body.

The Mendelsons also collect CDs and CD players to distribute at pediatric cancer centers. They plan to make the first drop in Orlando.

Mendelson wants to raise $5 million for the 1 in 8 Foundation, but he set an initial goal of $8,000, a number he thinks is a realistic short-term target.

The money raised goes directly to hospitals and clinics for mammograms, said Mendelson.

Although the man-and-wife duo doesn't have time to linger anywhere for more than a day or two, Mendelson encourages students to continue to collect donations or contact him to set up a drive or discuss ideas.

This approachability is one thing Mendelson says he and his wife offer where a lot of organizations - especially those run by celebrities - fall short.

"We're not MTV. We're not VH1," he said. "We're just a husband and wife doing the best we can with what we've got."

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