March 23rd, 2014

Mo Bro Simon Quinn shares his story about the power of the Mo and how it led to a life saving diagnosis.

Mo Bro Spotlight
Here at Movember we see the power of the Mo everyday in the stories shared by our community. On top of its fundraising power, each moustache grown during the month sparks thousands of conversations (2,413 to be exact!) about men’s health.  We love hearing from our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who share personal stories of how their support of Movember prompted important conversations and helped them take notice of the health issues they face.

When Mo Bro Simon Quinn reached out to Mo HQ for tips on building his team and fundraising efforts, he also opened up about his personal Movember journey and recent battle with testicular cancer.  

Simon has been a Mo Bro for the past few years with his recreational hockey team the Warriors HC. The team was inspired to join the movement by the larger hockey community that has embraced Movember, growing moustaches and raising funds.

Despite driving the Movember initiative for his team, Simon was hesitant to see his doctor about a swollen testicle.  Eventually, armed with the knowledge from Movember about his own health risks, he gathered the courage to seek help. After seeing multiple doctors, having two ultrasounds, a chest x-ray, blood draw, and physical exam, Simon’s urologist diagnosed him with testicular cancer.

“At no point did I feel more shame than when I was laid out on an exam table, while a woman ran a wand over my testicles and lower abdomen. Two gentlemen stood over me, wearing button down shirts and ties, squinting at a monitor over my shoulder, speaking in terms I didn’t understand. Just like you’d see in a scene on television, when I got my cancer diagnosis emotion battered against me like waves against the rocks in a storm.”

Fear kept Simon from scheduling surgery to remove the testicle immediately. He was worried about everything he had going on with family and work and all the people he had to tell, like his wife and son.

Simon found it particularly difficult to share the diagnosis with his mother. “I felt bad for telling her the news, like I had done something wrong and didn’t want to admit to it.  I wanted to spare her feelings of fear and worry.  I wanted to protect her from all of it, rather than lean on her for support.  In hindsight, I can see that my thinking was flawed, but at the time, I was more concerned for her than dependent on her.”

A week later was the surgery to remove his right testicle. The post-operation report was optimistic.  The doctors felt that, although he had waited much longer than he should have, removing the testicle had removed the cancerous cells.  He would get the official all clear a few weeks later after final testing.

“I may have waited too long to have the swelling looked into had I not been inspired by the Movember movement. For that, I will be eternally grateful.”

“As I waited for time to slip by in the weeks before my final tests, I sent a letter to my hockey family, and people that I had not heard from in a long time started to reach out. I was meeting people for lunch that I had normally only shared ice with. I was opening up about myself, revealing the fear and emotions I had been experiencing. I found that through this effort other people were opening up to me, telling me stories about their own loved ones, or personal histories, as they tried to comprehend what I was sharing. I was moved, touched and awed by the strengths and weaknesses of those around me. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I was having real conversations about things that mattered. I found that I was surrounded by truly amazing people.”

Simon’s follow-up blood test and doctor’s appointment resulted in the good news that he was cancer-free. “I was driving at the time I got the call and pulled over and wept. I will be under surveillance for the next few years, getting blood work and CT scans at regular intervals, but for today, I’m living high on life.”

“An integral part of what I try to do with my Movember team now is raise awareness for men’s health. I believe a significant power of Movember is its ability to remove the stigma and shame that goes along with a testicle or prostate examination. If I get one gentleman to see his doctor then I will feel like I've made a worthy impact. If I get 10 gentlemen, 50 gentlemen, 1,000 gentlemen, then I will feel proud beyond measure. I gave up my right nut for the chance to live cancer-free, and I am using this opportunity to spread the word that regular checkups are necessary.”

Thank you, Simon for sharing your story, raising awareness, and helping us change the face of men’s health.

For more information on testicular cancer, please visit our Men’s Health page. While Movember is the month to sign up on, grow that Mo, and raise funds, men’s health is a year-round conversation. Share Mo Bro Simon’s story and start a conversation − that’s all it takes to start making a difference!

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