I get why a government or non-profit might want to raise awareness about cancer, but I cannot imagine why they would feel the need to have a mascot for the campaign (especially when the cancer in question is testicular cancer). It does make the campaign memorable though, so maybe that’s the reason.
In an unbelievable article called “Mr. Balls, aka ‘Senhor Testiculo,’ goes to bat for cancer research,” the NY Daily News writes that a Brazilian testicular cancer awareness group that has created a mascot that is a “wide-eyed, dual-toothed, rosy-cheeked, mole-sporting scrotum that will cause a lifetime of nightmares for anyone who lays eyes on him.” I would second that last sentiment. Here is Senhor Testiculo in all his glory. Who are the parents that think it’s a good idea to let their kids take pictures with the mascot. I found clowns scary as a kid–god knows what kind of therapy I would have needed if I had confronted Mr. Balls on the street.
Word of warning: while at least some Brazilian parents would beg to disagree, I would argue that the following photos are NSFW.
The NY Times Lens Blog has a heartbreaking slide show and story called Breast Cancer as a Death Sentence in Uganda.
Apparently there is only one hospital in the country that treats cancer and, for a variety of reasons, women often wait until it’s too late to make the trip to the capital. By the time they do, the cancer has metastasized and there is little that can be done. Here are some excerpts:
“Jessy Acen would get one shot (of chemo) and then wait two weeks until she got the next shot, so instead of going back and forth to her village — which was a $10 bus ride — she would sleep outside of the hospital on a cardboard box while she was waiting for the next round of chemo. She had two sons back in her village that she hadn’t seen in several months and it was just a heartbreaking.”
“Some who have the resources are able to get radiation. Many of them have to bribe themselves to the front of the line. There’s one radiation machine that sometimes serves four different countries. People coming from South Sudan, Congo, Uganda and parts of Kenya all go to this one radiation machine so there are lines and lines of people waiting.”