19 June 2012>
Sporting legend John Hartson officially unveiled 'Grab your Life by the Balls', an educational testicular cancer awareness raising campaign aimed at 15 year olds at a special launch event at Blackwood Comprehensive School today (Tuesday 19th June).
Caerphilly County Borough Council's Healthy Schools team have joined forces with the John Hartson Foundation and Velindre NHS Trust to produce an educational DVD and teaching pack, aimed at 15 year old school pupils for use in school PSE lessons.
The DVD, thought to be the first of its kind in Wales, features John Hartson, who tells his story of his battle with testicular cancer – and Velindre NHS Trust Consultant Clinical Oncologist Dr Jim Barber, who discusses the warning signs and symptoms to look out for.
Talking of his battle with testicular cancer, and the importance of raising awareness of the disease, John Hartson said, "There was very little in the way of awareness raising for important issues such as this when I was at school, therefore when I was contacted by Caerphilly County Borough Council to ask if I'd like to be involved in this testicular cancer awareness raising campaign, I was pleased to say yes".
He continued, "I truly believe that education from an early age of the signs and symptoms to look out for, together with the knowledge to act when men detect an abnormality, and understand that there is nothing to be fearful or embarrassed about in seeking medical advice, is key to tackling this illness".
"This awareness raising campaign is really important in communicating the 'don't be embarrassed' message to the younger generation, and I hope my story will really emphasise the importance of being aware of this disease", he added.
Cllr Rhianon Passmore, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning at Caerphilly County Borough Council said, "It is so important that our young people are educated in the signs and symptoms to look out for, and this excellent innovative campaign will provide the tools to help ensure that this is the case".
"By having such a high profile figure as John Hartson join forces with us for the campaign, someone who has gone through the illness himself and come through the other side; I am confident that our young people will really embrace the vital messages contained within the campaign, which ultimately could save lives".
Andrea Hague, Director of Velindre Cancer Centre, Whitchurch said, "We are pleased to be involved in this important campaign, which aims to encourage young people to get to know their bodies and act upon any changes to their bodies at an early stage".
She continued, "If this campaign, by making young people aware of the warning signs to look out for, can save one life then it has been a success".
Pupils from Blackwood Comprehensive School have been involved in the development of the campaign, from the very early ideas stage through to featuring in the awareness raising DVD itself.
Ravi Pawar, Headteacher at Blackwood Comprehensive School said, "This valuable educational resource, starring a high profile figure like John, will really engage our young people and convey the important messages a campaign of this nature brings in a meaningful and powerful way".
Photographs from the launch event at Blackwood Comprehensive School can be found at www.flickr.com/caerphillycbc
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