A 31-year-old testicular cancer survivor from Salinas, California is pushing a 6-foot inflatable “testicle” across the country to heighten the public’s awareness of the disease.
According to local NBC News affiliate KSBW-TV, Thomas Cantley says he is going to depend on public generosity to help him make his journey, which started in Santa Monica on September 4 and is intended to travel through Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Houston, Kansas City, Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. before ending in New York City in early October.
Cantley said, “I wanted to do sort of a social experiment. I didn’t want to force myself on anyone, and what this does and through this process, it forces people to come to me, ask me, ‘What is this, what’s it about, it kind of looks like a testicle, what’s going on?’ and it creates that conversation.”
Cantley was found with stage three testicular cancer in 2009, and is determined to inform young men to get tested for the disease. He said, “It’s a 96 percent survival rate if caught early, so when you catch it early at stage one, it’s not progressive, it’s contained.” He intends to make his trek without paying for transportation, lodging and food, hoping that those who encounter him will offer help.
He told KSBW, “My goal is to get across the country not by any money. I want people to come and go, ‘I’ll book a hotel room, I’ll take you out to lunch, I’ll fill up your gas tank’ or whatever and I want those physical connections, I don’t just want people to donate to me, I want people to connect with me.”
One incentive for survivors to visit with Cantley is the opportunity to write their experiences on the ball itself. Cantley attested, “I’m doing it for these people, these survivors, these young guys.”