Testicular cancer survivor deploys unique way to raise awareness
Thomas Cantley rolls giant testicle-shaped ball across Canada
A Nova Scotia testicular cancer survivor has found a unique way to raise awareness about the disease.
After being diagnosed in 2009 with Stage 3 testicular cancer, Thomas Cantley says he wanted to do something big. He decided to roll a giant, testicle-shaped rubber ball across Canada to bring attention to testicular cancer and is now one province away from wrapping up the journey.
"The response has been pretty amazing," Cantley said. "People look at it and they'll not really know what it's all about, but you're automatically.... My director said the ball is kind of like a Buddha — you just want to come up and touch it."
The director Cantley referred to is his friend, Tim Cadeny, who is filming the journey for a documentary.
They started out in downtown Toronto and have been making their way west through a combination of driving and walking.
So far, they've been staying with people who heard about the journey. It's all part of Cantley's I Am Ballsy campaign, which aims to educate people about testicular cancer and create a resource hub on the signs, detection and treatment of the disease.
"I call it one degree of separation — that's what cancer is," Cantley said. "We're doing a documentary to educate but I wanted to do something bold, a great statement of showing support and community of people. It's not about the money [raised], it's about the support and education and I just want to create a form of a movement."
Goal is to raise awareness, not money
Cantley isn't raising money for any organization but says he is looking to bridge the gap of talking about testicular cancer.
He says the goal is make people aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease, which is the most common cancer in young Canadian men between the ages of 15 and 29, according to Health Canada.
It is easily treatable and curable if caught early, but in his videos, Cantley explains that many young men are never taught how to do a self-examination in the way that young women learn to check their breasts for lumps.
While the goal is to end the journey in Vancouver on Sunday, it won't be the end of Cantley's efforts to spread awareness.
He also has a new online resource hub, Ballsy, that will be launching soon.
The site will house information for young men and women on the signs, detection and treatment of testicular cancer.