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“Check Yo Nutz” Campaign returns for a second year at Canisius

Last year, Canisius College and Roswell Cancer Institute teamed up to promote the areas’ first testicular cancer awareness campaign known as “Check Yo Nutz”. Since then, the campaign has grown courtesy of Dr. Melissa Wanzer and her Health Communication class at Canisius. Now in its second year the campaign is aiming to expand and continue to spread awareness of a still taboo topic.

The campaign and its mascot Sammy the Squirrel began to appear at other campuses in the area including Jamestown Community College and Erie Community College. JCC held a three day event in October in order to spread awareness by handing out pamphlets, shower cards and other materials. The third day included a speech from one of JCC’s faculty members who was diagnosed with testicular cancer. ECC also distributed materials to students during their wellness week. West Virginia University is also working on a grant so that can have a “Check Yo Nutz” campaign next year.

They have also contacted many schools in the area and so far 12 of them have agreed to distribute materials. Last week, ESPN.com published an article about testicular cancer in which “Check Yo Nutz” received praise for its efforts to raise awareness on an issue many find touchy. Wanzer is pleased with the press the group is getting but at the same time knows a lot of work still needs to be done.

“I think there is a lot more work to be done here…. People are generally receptive to the campaign messages and our strategies (showercards, materials, events),” Wanzer said.  “I do not think people are comfortable with the topic of TC yet and so there is still a lot more work to be done. Young males need to be educated about TC so that if they do find a lump they don’t ignore it or wait too long to talk to their physicians.”

However, the group is in the running for the Pepsi Refresh Grant this year and hopes to receive funds to further the campaign. According to Wanzer if they are successful in getting the grant they will use the funds to make materials and distribute them in the Western New York Area.

As a part of Canisius College’s wellness week this week, the campaign continued what it started last year and had a table at the health fair. This allowed for students to obtain materials and answer questions about testicular cancer to win prizes. They will also be hosting an event in the Canisius College quad to promote awareness at the end of the week.

For more information about “Check Yo Nutz” you can visit their website at www.checkyonutz.org or their Facebook and twitter page (@checkyonutz).

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