Check your balls
Male Uprising Guernsey, working with the Sexual Health and Relationship Educators team (SHARE), has created a new educational DVD to raise awareness of testicular cancer amongst secondary school boys.
The film, Check Your Balls, has been made with local sports stars including Luke Jones, Ryan-Zico Black, Jason Winch, Ross Kneller and Ben Ferbrache and aims to drive home the message about testicular cancer. Gary Burgess, himself a survivor of testicular cancer, has backed the project and presents the film which will be shown to year 11 boys from September.
'We've been using the same educational film in schools for years, it was so out of date and had little appeal for our students,' said Julie Duquemin of SHARE.
'We asked MUG for help and they have more than delivered. We've worked very closely with them to make this new DVD. It's much more current and relevant to our pupils who look up to the local sports stars who appear in the film.'
Julie and the team at SHARE will start using the video as part of their secondary schools programme, which is in place to help educate young people about sexual health. The film was made by Spike Productions and everyone who appears in it generously gave their time for free. Filming took place at Footes Lane and the Guernsey Cricket Centre and as well as giving pupils the facts they need about testicular cancer it aims to break down any embarrassment about the disease and encourage men to make testicular self-examination part of their routine.
Alongside the new educational film, MUG is launching a high profile marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of testicular and other male cancers. Again, local sports stars have given their time to help the charity and agreed to bare (nearly) all to create an impactful campaign. Using strategically placed balls to cover their manhood, Ryan-Zico Black (football), Stephen Adam (volleyball), Martin Yabsley (basketball), Luke Jones (rugby) and many others will appear in advertising sites around the island and in local magazines.
Luke Jones, now playing rugby with the Cornish Pirates was happy to be involved: 'I think it's important to break down taboos around men's health. As sportsmen we are very aware of our bodies; health and fitness is paramount to us, and if we can encourage that attitude in others, particularly young men, then that's a step in the right direction.'
A social media campaign using Facebook and Twitter will aim to spread the message and engage more with the 15-44 year old target age group. Islanders will see the campaign in Beau Sejour on a large advertising site which has been lent to the charity by Legis Group; on the back of a bus; in pubs and across Guernsey media. Rugby, tennis, hockey, football, cricket, volleyball, basketball and golf are all represented in the posters, which will be distributed to sports clubs around the island.
Stuart Platt-Ransom, group managing director of Legis Group, said that lending MUG the advertising site would hopefully really enhance the charity's campaign.
'This is a hugely worthwhile initiative and we're very happy to be able to help out in this way. The advertising site in the foyer at Beau Sejour is such a prime location for the centre's sports users. Hopefully it will really help to raise awareness of MUG and the key messages of this campaign. I suspect we will see something quite powerful here,' he said.
'We want to get people talking about men's cancers,' said MUG founder, Trevor Kelham.
'We want all men to check themselves and get anything they are worried about checked out at the doctors. And we want their wives, mothers and girlfriends to give their men the reminder that we all too often need.'
Dan Collins, a MUG council member and survivor of testicular cancer agrees: 'Testicular cancer is relatively rare, but it's the most common cancer among younger men and if caught early the treatment has fewer side effects. But we hope this campaign will get men talking about men's health and all male cancers.'