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Ballsy Testicular Cancer Survivor Pushes Giant Ball across America

Thomas Cantley isn’t your average cancer survivor – he’s so passionate about raising awareness that he’s actually pushing a giant inflatable ball across America. The ball, nicknamed ‘Lefty’, serves as a metaphor for testicular cancer – the disease that Cantley managed to survive. He started the ‘ballsy’ quest at Santa Monica, California, and plans to make it all the way to the southern coast before heading towards New York, stopping at 11 cities on the way.

Cantley’s cancer journey started in 2009, when he suffered abdominal and lower back pain. He didn’t realise right away what the symptoms meant, and he says that he never received preventive information. In fact, he wasn’t even aware of the disease’s existence.

“I had this ‘Superman Complex’ all these men create,” he admitted. “I was a fashion photographer in New York and I was so self-centered.” So he didn’t see a doctor until things got really bad and he had to go to the emergency room. That’s when he was diagnosed with Stage III testicular cancer – the illness had spread to other parts of his body besides the lymph nodes.

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Photo: Facebook

Thankfully, the treatment worked and Cantley has been cancer-free since 2010. He now wants to help other men to diagnose the disease early. “I didn’t catch it early, unfortunately. And now I’m using my story to help others. I know there are lots of guys out there like I was, who are in pain and ignoring it.”

The truth is, testicular cancer is rare compared to other cancers, but the most common cancer for men between the ages of 15 and 34. It is also highly treatable, even if it spreads beyond the testicle. That’s why Cantley feels that his epic journey is very important. “It’s the edge factor that draws people in. And then we grab them with all this educational material, to raise awareness and support the cause.”

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Photo: Facebook

During his travels, Cantley often stops to meet with people, connecting with other survivors and educating young men. They offer their support by signing on the ball, which he says is important on a personal level: “While I’m traveling with this ball, they’re traveling with me and helping me through this.”

Cantley is also being accompanied by three of his friends and two of their dogs, and he hopes to reach New York City by October 10. He plans to go off on a college tour after that, to take his ball to other areas of the country. His aim is to collect $15,000 for testicular cancer research through the Testicular Cancer Foundation. His message is simple: “If you feel something weird, go to a physician, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

If you’d like to track Cantley’s progress, you can check out the map he set up on his website ballpush.org. You could also follow his Twitter and Instagram accounts for more information.

via Today.com

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