Welcome to September 2015! It’s that time of year, when several public safety bloggers unify to present a non-profit organization called “Kilted To Kick Cancer” (KTKC) and their annual drive to bring awareness to male-specific cancers, and to raise funds for research and treatment.
The Hard Facts:
There is a strong presence for awareness, and research and treatment fundraising for female-specific cancers, such as Invasive Breast Cancer. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen pink ribbon campaigns and catchy slogans like “Save The Tatas” or “Save Second Base”. These are just causes and merit the strong support they receive. Invasive Breast Cancer afflicts 1 in 8 women. Additionally, it will take the life of 1 in 36 women¹ (males excluded from the statistics here, but recognize that, yes, men can get breast cancer too). This is a conversation that’s accepted in virtually any environment or social situation. We talk about it at work, we talk about it at the family dinner table
But it seems that talking about male-specific cancers is strictly taboo. We don’t talk about it in all but the most trusting social situations, such as a close knit group of guys, or in the bedroom with the missus when the diagnosis has already happened. Why is that? You’ve seen the women’s statistics, now check this out: 1 in 7 men will contract Prostate Cancer. That’s a slightly higher incidence than Invasive Breast Cancer in women. Guess what? It will take the life of 1 in 36 men¹. Testicular Cancer is less prevalent and less fatal, but still a critical part of a man’s whole self. 1 in 263 men will be diagnosed with it. Yes, 1 in 5,000 men² will die from it, which is much better than Prostate Cancer, but one is too many, especially when that one is you or personally affects you and your family. We men don’t have a special ribbon. We only now have catchy slogans thanks to the efforts of KTKC, like “Get Kilted, Get Checked”.
What Can I Do About It?
GET CHECKED! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!!! Get to the doctor and get your annual checkup, and don’t skip the prostate exam! Men, check your dangly bits while you are in the shower, at least once a month, and even better, get your woman to help!
TALK! Men (and women), we need to get our priorities in order. No more social stigma! Talk about this serious matter! Talk about it with the men you know and care about. Brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, nephews, sons, cousins, mentors, friends, all. If they’re too stubborn to listen, talk to their women and undoubtedly, they’ll help nag them until they get checked and open up to conversation (women: we know you do it strictly out of love and concern!).
And the Kilted Army at KTKC (which includes me) have vowed to make a statement to bring awareness to male specific cancers. We wear kilts every day we can during September, and let me tell you from personal experience, it IS a conversation starter. If a man walks in to a room with a mustache, you’ll probably judge the quality of growth and styling, and once that is done, you’ll likely not give it a second thought, but a man walks into a room with a kilt, and everyone wants to know, “What’s he got on under there?” And people ask! I’ve had literally hundreds of conversations and shared the Kilted To Kick Cancer website (bit.ly/getkilted).
RAISE FUNDS! I don’t place as much emphasis on raising funds as others, but it is still important. Without funding, there is no research. The goal this year is to break $50,000 with our September campaign. While on the KTKC site, you can read about what the organization is doing with the funds that are raised (important tidbit: none of it pays salaries!). I would be very appreciative if you would go to http://www.kiltedtokickcancer.org/product/ktkc-donation-2015/ and make a donation of ANY amount and select “Team Unwired Medic” when checking out. While you are there, you can get the most awesome patch ever created throughout human history! Just read the reviews and you’ll see why…
Part of your purchase is tax-deductible. They also have T-Shirts and Polo Shirts (yours truly sports one) with free custom name/department embroidery available.
WEAR A KILT! No excuses! It doesn’t matter if you aren’t Scottish or Irish. Kilts are for everyone! One of the corporate sponsors is Alt.Kilt and they offer a wide variety of custom and alternative style kilts to suit your mood or purpose for wearing. I personally wear a Sport Kilt. These are great for daily use and you probably won’t shed a tear if you damage one while working or hiking or Tough Mudder-ing. Before I knew I had Scottish and Irish heritage, I knew I am Once A Marine, so I bought the Leatherneck Tartan works package. There are clan tartans, some states have their own tartans, or there are plain colors if plaids are not your thing. There are even firefighter turnout gear kilts! I worked at Burning Man last year and I can tell you, utility-style kilts were all the rage. Men and women everywhere were wearing them. 5.11 Tactical, which ran the Tactical Kilt as an April Fools joke that backfired and became a major real-life seller, runs a limited release every year and it looks like they haven’t sold out this year yet. My mother-in-law and I are working on making me a D-I-Y custom utility kilt from the Instructable directions I found on the web, and with the tips of some other tutorials I found through a web search. There are plenty of other places to shop and they really don’t cost that much. Look on your favorite web search engine (Google, Bing, or [gasp] AOL, et. al.) for Stillwater Kilts, Atlanta Kilts, TactiKilts, Highland Kilt Company, UtiliKilt, etc. A simple, in stock kilt can cost as little as $50, or as much as $1,000 for the most formal getup. Caveat: You do get what you pay for with traditional style kilts, unless you are, or have access to, a seamstress or tailor and can make your own. You can keep it simple and strictly with a kilt, or you can accessorize with traditional garb like flashes, sporran, belts, fly sash, Glengarry, ghillie brogues, sgian dubh, kilt pins, and more. I wear a sporran all year now, usually on my pants belt or just carried in my hand, or I stuff it in my backpack. It carries my EpiPens, MDI’s, and other emergency meds and it’s completely full. I’m going to try my hand at making my own sporran this year to accommodate the meds I now have to carry every day, plus my ID, money, keys, and whatever else I might keep in a pocket.
Stay tuned to my website throughout the month of September and learn more about the Kilted Army and what I’m doing to help! THANK YOU!
Get Kilted, Get Checked! Kilted To Kick Cancer!
¹- American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) – September 2014
²- American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/detailedguide/testicular-cancer-key-statistics) – September 2015