Today is International Women's Day (hence the purple) and we need to recognize the important role women play in our lives, especially when it comes to our health - whether it’s fighting the dreaded man-cold, or something more serious like testicular cancer. I can tell you from personal experience, women have LITERALLY saved my life, and made me the best version of myself.
When I was 18, I was an average kid working at Swiss Chalet for the summer. Life was good… until one day, disaster. I tripped off an elliptical machine and canned myself. Over the next few weeks, I noticed some swelling in my “gentleman’s area” and thought well, you deserve this…but, I ignored it. I made excuse after excuse like "maybe it's a hormone thing" or "it'll go away on its own" and did nothing but procrastinate. Eventually I opened up to my mother about it – talking to my mom about my balls? That was a new one… - and she started continually insisted I see a doctor. When I finally did, what they found… was cancer. Ironically getting canned helped find the cancer, but it was my mom ‘busting my balls’ that saved my life. My mom was with me every step of the way - taking notes, doing further research and making sure that I was coping mentally. My sisters were another source of support because they cared. My family, on top of my many male and female friends, were there for me in my darkest hour, and were the secret to my strength during my 9 and a half year cancer journey.
My amazing mom and sisters
If you ask any woman, they will tell you that men are bad at two things: 1) taking care of themselves, and 2) asking for help. Why? Because of things like pride or awkwardness… and this is part of why men are 50% more likely to die from cancer than women (amongst other major diseases). Men, pay attention – we can learn a thing or two from our feminine counterparts.
This is not an uncommon story. I've had the fortunate opportunity to hear story after story of how men's mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends have stepped up to make sure that the men they cared about had the best opportunity to cancer's ass (or even the common “man cold” for that matter)? This was more quantitatively confirmed when I recently spoke with the Testicular Cancer Foundation in the USA (great organization by the way) who blew me away with a statistic that said 86% of their web traffic came from women, not men! In fact, that you can see this story in action yourself in the movie Deadpool when Ryan Reynold's character is diagnosed with cancer, and his girlfriend, played by the lovely Morena Baccarin, immediately starts taking a leading role in his cancer treatment. Hell ya. *slow motion high five*.
In my life I've also been fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of very smart women. My mother is a doctor, both my sisters are engineers, my girlfriend is studying to become a lawyer, and one of my best friends runs a non-profit organization where she brushes shoulders with more CEOs than I know the names of. These women bust my balls constantly to be better (or "positive nagging" as I like to call it) which is why you see me doing what I do here at Oneball and the other things I do in the community.
Women don't receive fair treatment in a lot of ways (especially professionally), and have unique problems that men simply don't. I recently attended an International Women's Day event put on by Accenture, and asked a question to the panel "I'm not in a position of power, but there are lot of women that I really care about in my life. What small things can I do to help that might, cumulatively, make a big difference?". I got two simple answers:
- Make introductions - you may think that women have access to the same networks that you do
- Say something - if you see someone having a laugh or demeaning women, bust their balls for it - not cool bro…
I'm sure you'll agree that these are super easy, so why not do them? There have to be more great ideas out there on how to help in small ways, and I'd be very interested to hear in the comments if you have any other ideas on what men can do to help women. Come on guys, if there is even a small way we can give back to the women who give so much to us day-in, day-out, why not?
Finally, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you to my mother, my two wonderful sisters, my girlfriend, and all the incredible female friends in my life.
And to all the men out there? Be a good to the women in your life - it might just save your life, and make you a better man.
Happy International Women's Day.