Student seeks to break world record, save lives
“My life flashed before my eyes,” said senior Jason Greenspan, a testicular cancer (TC) survivor who is on a mission to educate and bring awareness to the disease through an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.
Greenspan was 18 years old when he was diagnosed with TC.
“I was just on the couch watching television and had a simple itch,” recalled Greenspan, “one felt harder than the other.” Greenspan immediately told his mother about his concern and the two set up a doctor’s appointment a few days later, a swift action Greenspan believes saved his life.
Greenspan’s pediatrician was able to diagnose him immediately — information which left Greenspan feeling eerie.
“I’d never heard of testicular cancer,” said Greenspan, “I didn’t even know it existed.”
Greenspan, founder of the fundraiser STAMP OUT CANCER Now!, which he created just one week after his diagnosis, said that TC is the most common kind of cancer in males ages 15 to 44.
“It’s 99% curable if detected early,” he said. Everyone experiences their symptoms differently; some may simply feel a rock-like hardness in their testicle while others may feel pain, according to Greenspan.
He hopes to inspire other young men to take control of their health and not be embarrassed by the stigma surrounding TC through his event called “Ships Got Balls.”
“It’s a world record attempt for the largest simultaneous testicular self-exam,” said Greenspan, who needs 209 men to participate to break the record.
“Ships Got Balls” will be preceded by “Shave the Date,” an event aimed to promote men’s health throughout the month of November. The events will take place on Nov. 6, from 7–9 p.m. in the Ceddia Union Building Multipurpose Room, guest speakers will include TC survivors SU alumni Justin Berckbichler and Bruce Levy, retired principal for Shippensburg Area High School.
Although Greenspan graduates in December, he hopes “Ships Got Balls” will help solidify his legacy as an advocate for TC awareness as well as give support to those battling the disease now.
While enduring chemotherapy after an initial unsuccessful surgery, Greenspan’s support system was his mother.
“I don’t think I could have done it without her, honestly,” said Greenspan, “she took off nine weeks’ worth of work just to sit with me in chemo every day.”
Greenspan, like all who have had to undergo chemotherapy, said the experience was difficult.
“It was tough because I’d throw up and I’d be really tired and I got a lot of sleep, a lot of sleep,” emphasized Greenspan. “I was just in constant pain.”
When Greenspan found out he was cancer-free, just two days before Thanksgiving, he was ecstatic.
“I was very thankful that year,” he said with a big grin, “it was pretty incredible.”
Greenspan advises that those who may feel embarrassed about the possibility of having testicular cancer should not. “If you don’t feel comfortable telling your parents, go to a doctor to have them check it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
To those who may be battling with TC right now, Greenspan urged them to stay positive, think to the future and keep their mind active.
The Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation recommends men conduct monthly self-exams.
Want to help Greenspan break the Guinness World Record? Register for the event at ShipsGotBalls.org
If you would like to donate to STAMP OUT CANCER Now! you can do so at stampoutcancernow.com