A few months ago, I was talking to someone about their testicles.
I don’t remember exactly who, so I hope neither they nor their testicles take that personally. The important thing is I was telling this guy that he was young and so had a greater risk of developing testicular cancer. It’s a conversation I’ve had with a lot of men since February 2013, when I was diagnosed with it.
I’ve talked about that before, so I’ll just say that it was very scary, and I was very lucky, and I’m doing A-OK now. (If you want a little more detail, you can read more here.) Around the same time, a friend of mine also developed cancer, and a few months ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer (both are also OK). And just recently the world lost rock legend David Bowie and beloved actor Alan Rickman. It’s easy to lose sight of the way cancer affects all of us until it becomes personal.
My point is, I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to do more to help cancer research and treatment efforts, and maybe get my friends involved. That’s where you guys come in.
A while back, Kevin Church did a raffle-like fundraiser in honor of his birthday, and I’m totally ripping off the idea. Between now and March 6, 2016, I’ll be asking everyone to donate to the American Cancer Society, Livestrong, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or F*ck Cancer (you don’t have to donate to all of them — just one is fine), and email the receipt for your contribution to me. That contribution, no matter how small or large, will be your entry. Each individual donation will count as one entry, so if you donate to all four organizations, that’ll count as four entries. On March 6, I’ll randomly draw the names of the people who’ve entered and hand out hopefully awesome prizes.
But I need help, so I’m asking all you writers, artists, collectors, fans, and comic book store owners to contribute comic book and pop culture items to be raffled off, items that would encourage others to donate to any of the charities listed above. Anything that anyone would be willing to contribute to the raffle — big or small — is very much appreciated, and indeed, will be vital to this little fundraiser even happening. And as soon as raffle items start coming in, I’ll post them here so everyone can see what they could win!
I chose March 6 as the day for the raffle because, almost three years ago, that was the day I had the surgery to remove the malignant tumor, along with the testicle where it had decided to set up house. (I was diagnosed in late February, had the surgery, and started radiation about three weeks later.) That was also when my doctor told me he was 99.9 percent sure that they had gotten all of the cancer out. It was the day I felt as if I could stop holding my breath, and get back to living my life.
Seems like a good day to me.
If you’ve got some cool stuff that could help me raise money for cancer awareness and treatment, please consider doing so. If you’d like to donate for a chance to win that cool stuff, consider that, too. Help me get the word out by sharing this post on your social media of choice, and keep an eye out for updates.
How To Donate Items for the Raffle
How to Donate to Charities Fighting Cancer
One more time, here are the organizations I hope you’ll contribute to:
Hey, Let’s Talk Testicles
Testicular cancer is, fortunately, a fairly uncommon type of cancer that affects about 1 out of every 263 men annually. Unfortunately, it usually develops in younger men (the average age is 33), and can spread quickly if not treated. In a sense, I’m lucky to be middle-aged; my doctor told me that since my body is generally slowing down (er, thanks), that meant the cancer was slow, too. Younger men, with their bunny-like metabolisms, tend to see their cancers develop and spread faster.
So what should you be looking for? The next time your down there — c’mon, you know it won’t be long — thoroughly check how your testicles feel. They should feel like a peeled, hard-boiled egg, with no bumps, lumps or protrusions. Don’t go by whether or not there’s any pain; my tumor didn’t hurt at all, and this type of cancer actually only becomes uncomfortable if the tumor is allowed to grow to a huge size. (My doctor told me that he’s seen more than one guy come in with growths the size of a navel orange. That is CRAZY.) And hey, if you’re not sure something is out of place, get yourself a partner and have them give it a feel — who says a self-exam can’t be fun?
If you feel anything, ANYTHING, odd, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. No excuses, no time to waste. Hell, that’s good advice for just about anything. So let’s take care of ourselves, and if we can, let’s take care of each other.
Find more information on different types of cancer, their symptoms, and how they’re treated at the American Cancer Society’s resource page.