Purple Orchid Project (POP)

Our purpose is to raise funds for Testicular Cancer awareness and research.

So why do we do this?

I am a 36-year-old husband to Mariska. I have played sport at school and only started cycling after my wife entered me for the 94.7 five years ago…

At the end of last year (2016) I went for a check-up at the urologist, as it was something that I have been putting off for a very long time. I didn’t need to go as there was absolutely nothing wrong with me but my wife kept on saying that it is just as important for a man to go for check ups as it is for women. After constant nagging I finally made the appointment and went for the check-up.

After a short examination the Urologist send me for an ultrasound examination at the Radiology Department and a whole list of blood tests. The ultrasound suspected a cancerous growth but the blood tests came out fine. The urologist was not convinced and booked me for a CT scan the next day. This too was clean. Dr Venter was still not happy and told me that he would like to have me in theater the following morning to have a biopsy done, he wanted to be 100% sure.

After a lot of confusion I was admitted to hospital for the biopsy the next morning. The tests came back clean; the CT scan was good, so why did I need to go for the biopsy??

Before I went to theater the Dr told me that he is going to perform the biopsy and that he would have a pathologist in theater, if the biopsy test positive for cancer he is going to remove my testicle. I was not worried at all because, according to me, the blood test came back clean and the CT scan also didn’t show anything strange. WOW what a rude awakening….

I got out of theater and was told that I had testicular cancer and that they had to remove my right testicle. At first, it was almost surreal, I mean the test was good, how could this be??

The emotions that followed were enormous. They removed my right testicle, my manhood… First I didn’t want to talk about it. My wife encouraged me to speak to her about it as one need to get it out of your system. I finally realized that there is no need for me to feel ashamed, as I didn’t ask for this; perhaps if I talk about this, more men (and boys) will go for their check-ups. Perhaps they will also be as lucky as I have been to detect the cancer before it is too late.

I went back to the urologist the following week for my check up and he said that I am probably the luckiest person that he knows, if I came to him 3 months later it might have been a very different scenario. He got the results from the pathologists back and they removed everything. He referred me to an Oncologist and recommended that I go for chemo; just to make sure that all the cancer cells are gone.

I went to see the Oncologist and he did recommend chemo, I had a choice to have chemo, if I didn’t want to go for chemo I had to go for CT scans and blood tests every 2 months. With the chemo I need to go for tests every 3 months for the first year, then every 6 months thereafter and then once a year for 5 years, just to make sure that all is good. I decided to get the chemo just to be on the safe side. Luckily I only had to go for 2 sessions. I must admit, this was probably the scariest part of the whole situation. I am thankful that I had support from my wife, family and friends as well as from the MAN above to carry me through this.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males 15-35 years old. The best thing is that testicular cancer has a very high survival rate if it is caught in time.

Just fyi, the visit to the urologist was not one of those “uncomfortable” ones where apparently a finger gets used…

We have started the POP (Purple Orchid Project) to raise awareness and to get guys to check their nuts and to go and see a Doctor if something feels a bit different.

So we will be cycling from Johannesburg to Durban to raise awareness and funds for CANSA, and we need a lot of support to get this done. I would like to thank each and every teammate that is part of this initiative for your support and to help spread the word. To each and every person that reads this, it would be greatly appreciated if you could assist us to reach our end goal in raising funds for CANSA, it doesn’t matter what amount you would like to contribute, every little cent helps.

What would also be appreciated is if you could at least spread the word and make people more aware that testicular cancer is real and that this is not only a “old man” problem/ sickness, but that it can occur in boys from as young as 12 years of age.

Just a bit of background on why we decided to call it Purple Orchid Project.

All of my teammates is touched in some way or form by the devastating effects of cancer, either a close friend or family member had cancer or lives with cancer. The color of all cancers is purple. We didn’t want to exclude any type of cancer, hence the color purple.

Because boys and men do not generally want to talk about their testicles or nuts, we thought that we needed to try and do something about this and make them more aware that they need to check their testicles and if they feel something funny they need to do something about this. For this reason we thought to focus a bit more on the awareness for testicular cancer.

Orchids were once called “ballocks stones”, “dogstones” and similar names because their roots resemble human testicles. An orchid purple is the ribbon color for testicular cancer.
That in a “nut”shell is how the name was born.

a project by

Sybrandt Fouche

Gauteng, ZA

in support of

CANSA Active

CANSA Active - Cycle

Johannesburg, Gauteng