Daredevils raise eyebrows and raise funds towards male cancer awareness

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Official handover of proceeds from the 2021 Hollard Daredevil Run celebrates the brave men wearing only purple speedos who ran through the streets of South Africa to make a difference.

October last year saw thefirst ever COVID-edition Hollard Daredevil Run take place in neighbourhoods across South Africa to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. Traditionally, a brave speedo-clad participant would be one of a sea of thousands at the annual Gauteng-based event. But 2021 was ballsier, braver and bigger than ever before, and asked participants to run alone or in small groups around the country.

“We’re so proud of what our 2021 run achieved at such a challenging time for mass-participation events,” says Heidi Brauer, Chief Marketing Officer at Hollard. “This run with a difference that makes a difference once again challenged stereotypes about male cancers and started conversations and it’s a great pleasure to be able to present to the proceeds of the Run to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa”. The handover of the proceeds of R400 000 took place this morning at a virtual event broadcast live from Johannesburg.

“We reached hundreds of thousands of eyeballs, we initiated important awareness about prostate and testicular cancer, and we raised proceeds towards awareness and screening of these male cancers,” continues Brauer. “When we assist in these cancers being caught early, we enable better futures not only for the men whose chances of survival are increased, but also for their families and loved ones,” she says.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. If detected early, men have a 95% chance of being cured. The incidence of testicular cancer, a cancer that primarily affects young men between the age of 15-40 years, has doubled in the last 50 years. Once again, early detection and knowing the risks is key.

“We can never do enough to ensure that every South African male over 40 fully understands what prostate cancer screening entails. These events are critical as they generate massive educational opportunities on a national level to educate men and boys about prostate and testicular cancer,” says Prostate Cancer Foundation CEO Andrew Oberholzer. “The fun element of running through the streets in a speedo helps to attract men who would not necessarily have participated in a pure ‘health education’ type of event. The balance between fun and education helps to reach a much broader spectrum of men,” he says.

Oberholzer says these proceeds will assist with the resources used for educational campaigns which the organisation runs throughout the year, including their helpline facility which assists men and their families who are dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis.  “We need to ensure that patients have fair access to standard of care diagnostic and treatment modalities. We also need to ensure that healthcare professionals are kept up to date with the latest developments and will be launching an on-line website for them this year to assist with this,” he says.

Representing CANSA at this morning’s event, Olivia Curlewis says that this type of fun event is very effective in conveying a very serious message and that these funds will be used to continue their education and screening initiatives into 2022. Since COVID-19 has prevented many of the traditional physical screening events, CANSA has adapted to running successful online support groups, men’s health webinars and digital educational booklets.

“We saw over 2 000 runners from every province in the country running cancer outta their hoods on 15 October 2021. Not only did we open up this amazing platform to the whole country, but we spread more awareness about male cancers than ever before,” Brauer says.

Brauer also thanked both organisations for partnering with the Hollard Daredevil Run. She paid tribute to the amazing work that both CANSA and the Prostate Cancer Foundation do in helping South Africans to learn more about cancer and the invaluable support they provide for those who have cancer.

The Hollard Daredevil Run has grown from one brave soul daring to jog through peak hour traffic in a speedo many years ago, to an extraordinary platform that annually raises eyebrows and raises funds. 2022 will be no exception and interested participates are urged to follow the Daredevil Run account on Facebook to be kept up to date with the event plans for later this year.