by VEJAY STEEDE
November is Men’s Health Month, and the folks at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre are preparing to go all out with their two most successful annual events once again.
Participation in the AXA XL Man on the Run and Movember is typically open – and they can provide immense joy and satisfaction for those inclined to get involved.
Cash goes towards free men’s health screening events, Men’s Health Reduce Your Risk presentations, and the BCHC’s Equal Access Fund, which provides financial subsidisation for prostate consultation, ultrasounds, biopsies and radiation therapy.
Both events bring a degree of levity and fun to an otherwise sombre issue, which makes awareness that much easier to receive for most people. Growing moustaches and beards, and running races to save lives, are truly inspired ideas – and many local organisations dive right in to support.
Schools and organisations are invited to enter teams to compete for the School Spirit Award and Work Place Challenge, which brings an extra element of excitement to participation.
Man on the Run – Bermuda’s only men-only walking and running race, founded by Clifford Roberts in 2012 – is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
It takes place on November 13, and men of all ages are encouraged to register on www. racedayworld.com.
The team at BCHC, helmed by Deborah Titterton-Narraway and Azuree Williams, advised: “When registering, they can set up a personal fundraising page, and send the URL to friends and family seeking donations.”
Meanwhile, Movember, an international movement born in Australia in 1999, focuses on prostate and testicular cancer screening and treatment. It has grown into a renowned pillar of men’s cancer awareness, and has taken place in Bermuda since 2010.
The BCHC team said Bermuda’s men are encouraged to raise funds in three fun ways:
Grow a Mo – or beard – for 30 days. Your face will raise funds and awareness for men’s health.
Host a Mo-ment. Go big or keep it simple. Hosting is all about having a good time for a good cause. So, ask people to donate what they would spend on a night out towards Men’s Health.
Give Monthly. A monthly donation of just $10 will make a difference.
Of course, the biggest barrier to Bermudian men seeking medical help is the stigma attached to men’s cancer screening.
“The most powerful way we can raise awareness is by getting everyone talking about men’s health and the importance of annual health checks for men over 45,” the BCHC team said.
“We are grateful to the men who share their experiences with their friends and family, or more publicly through videos and newspaper articles.
“By doing this, we reduce the stigma and increase the odds that men will seek medical advice if they can recognise the signs or symptoms.”
Those treated after early detection of prostate cancer and testicular cancer have a survival rate of 98 per cent and 95 per cent respectively.
“It takes the whole community to effect change, and Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is encouraged by past support and participation,” the BCHC team said.
“But there are approximately 30,168 men in Bermuda. One in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
“Let’s come together now, to start preventing these cancers and detecting them early when most treatable.”
One organisation that is extremely proud of its impact on cancer awareness and treatment fundraising in Bermuda is professional services firm KPMG.
Team KPMG member Rhiannon Fox-Nanette outlined the company’s enthusiasm and competitive spirit.
“In 2021 our ‘MoBros’ got inventive and proposed creative ways to shape and showcase their growing moustaches,” she said.
“Our ‘MoSistas’ also assisted them in their cause to remove the stigma surrounding men’s health.”
The Movember finale took place at a local restaurant where team member Will Green was crowned Mr Movember for the second year in a row.
Ms Fox-Nanette said: “During the firm’s fundraising efforts, we were able to complete a successful staff raffle with an amazing grand prize of a two-night stay at a local hotel generously donated to us.
“We were also able to raise awareness of men’s health issues through our internal communications and social media posts. Collectively, they were able to raise $7,058 for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, and win the Financial Services Fundraising Challenge for the fourth time in the past five years.”
She added: “KPMG encourages employees to participate in any and all road races by communicating event information and covering the entry cost to the race.
“We look forward to see our employees on the road for the Man on the Run 5K road race that is coming up! Last year we had eight employees race, with Will Green coming in tenth.”
BCHC offers considerable incentive for men to get actively involved in maintaining their own health, with special programmes lined up for November.
“One of the barriers to men seeking medical help may be cost,” said the BCHC team.
“In November, Men’s Health Month, many of the island’s urologists offer discounted, or free, prostate checks, and men are encouraged to take advantage of these.
“For those who prefer a less medical atmosphere, Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre works with a Bermuda Hospitals Board urologist to provide prostate consultation at the Centre, which may include testing and prostate biopsy at no charge to the patient.
“Should a man be diagnosed with prostate cancer, their oncologist may recommend radiation therapy, which is also covered by Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s Equal Access Fund, ensuring that those without health insurance can focus on wellness, not how to pay for treatment.”
For more information about fundraising events at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, visit: https://www.cancer.bm/ events–calendar/events-calendar/