Toronto actor brings awareness to the disease
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Daniel Schneiderman has big balls, even if he’s had one of them removed.
How else could you perform a theatrical piece about testicular cancer if you didn’t possess — figuratively, anyway — the aforementioned reproductive gland? The Toronto actor is bringing My Left Nut, his humorous and frightening personal experience with the disease, to the Diesel Playhouse on July 31. The one-man show accompanies a raffle draw and a testicle-shaped piñata-smashing contest and makes up part of
Help Kick Cancer In The Balls night. The event supports The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association, a new group dedicated to elevating awareness of the subject.
Schneiderman’s friends and family encouraged him to turn e-mail updates about his condition, sent following his diagnosis and surgery in October 2005, into material for the play. Despite the positive feedback, he says the show wasn’t the motivation itself, but a way to get involved in raising the profile of testicular cancer.
“I had really lucked out. I had caught it early enough to be in that best-case scenario,” Schneiderman, 29, says. “I could have forgotten about it, because other than being a little lighter down there, the equipment’s working. But I wanted to be involved in the cancer community. After a conversation with my mom, I looked at the e-mails that I sent and I thought, ‘Yeah, something can be used in that format.’”
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Ultimately, Schneiderman plans on taking My Left Nut to schools across the country, targeting audiences of teenage boys to young men — testicular cancer’s highest-risk age group.
“The most common age range for this cancer starts at age 15, so I thought, ‘Go for that audience.’ And using humour is a great way of getting that message across to them.”
The relatively low profile of the disease is something Cheryl Fried, founder of The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association, wants to change. The Kitchener, Ont., native lost her 18-year-old son Adam to the illness nearly four years ago, due in part to the more common problems surrounding it.
“This is something Adam wanted to do while he was in chemo,” Fried says. “He didn’t know about it, never heard of it … Men don’t want to talk about it, and I don’t think they understand that it’s a young person’s disease. It’s getting younger all the time. It’s curable, but it moves, and it moves fast. There’s also the embarrassment factor, especially with teenagers. Twenty years ago, women were the same way with breast cancer, but it’s very exposed now. Twenty years from now, this kind of cancer will be OK to talk about, but it takes awareness, more attention brought to it.”
For more information, visit www.tctca.org.