Why This Man Is Pushing a Giant ‘Testicle’ From Los Angeles to New York
Pushing a 6-foot inflatable testicle named “Lefty” across the country is bound to get this man some laughs. His cause, however, is no joke.
Thomas Cantley, 31, was diagnosed with Stage 3 testicular cancer when he was 26 years old. Eventually, it spread to his lymph nodes, he told The Mighty. Now, after being in remission for the last four years, Cantley is dedicating himself to helping others decrease their risk of going through the same thing.
“Finding out that you have cancer, especially that young, is so hard,” Cantley told The Mighty. “You think you’re invincible and then something like that comes along.”
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men 15-35 years old, according to The Testicular Cancer Society. When it’s detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 99 percent.
After his own diagnosis in 2009, Cantley became concerned that young men, like himself, were not being taught how to spot the signs of the disease.
He realized that young men needed an organization to educate them on recognizing the signs that may mean their health is at risk — so he teamed up with Testicular Cancer Foundation, and the #BeBallsy campaign was born.
Cantley’s plan is to push “Lefty” from Santa Monica, California, to New York City, never deflating it or detaching himself from the ball. The goal is to raise awareness and promote education about testicular cancer, according to his website, BallPush.org.
“We can’t stop people from being diagnosed with cancer,” he told The Mighty, “but we can increase the percentage that catch it early.”
He’ll meet up with fellow survivors in each city to form a support network and ask them to write on the ball, eventually filling it completely with messages and survivors’ stories.
“It’s therapy for a lot of people, signing this ball, dealing with it, approaching it,” Cantley told The Mighty. “It’s such an amazing thing to watch.”
The journey began on September 5 and is set to end in early October. Along the way, Cantley hopes to engage passersby and rely on their kindness and generosity for food, lodging and transportation.
“I don’t just want people to donate to me,” he told the KSBW. “I want people to connect with me.”
And so far they have. People have been recognizing the ball-pusher and his story and have not hesitated to approach and offer their support and thanks.
“The fight against cancer isn’t just about a cure,” Cantley wrote on his fundraising page. “It’s also about a community.”
Photos courtesy of BallPush.org. To follow along with Thomas Cantley and “Lefty,” visit the site.