Oneball Charitable Cancer Organization
Our Story Why We Exist
When I was 18, I was an average kid working at Swiss Chalet for the summer. Life was good, until one day... disaster. I tripped off an elliptical machine and canned myself. Nice. Over, the next few weeks, I noticed some swelling in my 'gentleman's area' and thought that I kind of deserved it, so I ended up ignoring and making excuse after excuse for not doing anything. Eventually I decided to talk to my mother about my balls (super awkward) and she insisted I see a doctor. What they ended up finding… was cancer. Getting canned saved my life but… I was terrified.
This marked the beginning of my nine and half year journey with testicular cancer.
What I didn't know at the time was that testicular was the #1 cancer for men aged 15-35, and is often referred to as the 'young man's cancer'. In every cancer seminar I went to, I was always the youngest patient by 30 or 40 years. I felt alone. In this isolation I struggled with thoughts like 'will any woman ever love me', 'will I ever have kids', 'am I going to survive this'. I was diagnosed a second time four and a half years later at age 23, and the feelings of isolation and fear of these questions only got worse. For 7 years, I told almost no one about my cancer. I didn’t want to be judged or pitied, or be seen as that 'cancer boy'."
Sadly this path of isolation is one that many men go down, but that’s where Oneball steps in.
Oneball is, in a word, ballsy. We use humor and fun events to help men open up - but we’re not just fun and games. We fund life changing research, we help pay the over $6,000 of medications not covered by our health care, and we provide critical information in a relatable way – like talking to a friend.
So why does this appraoch work? Well, if you ask any woman, they will tell you that men are bad at, at least two things: 1) asking for help and 2) taking care of themselves. Why? Because of things like pride or awkwardness… and this is part of why men are 50% more likely to die from cancer than women. By using this playful approach, we shatter the stigma so that men can feel comfortable reaching out to an organization that understands them, and avoiding the feelings of isolation and fear that this disease can bring.
Since being declared cancer free in January 2016, Chris's personal motto is that "it takes precisely zero balls to make a difference". "Making a difference doesn't require a tremendous amount of courage, or the physical presence of balls" he says "making a difference is a choice".
Our Impact What We Do
Testicular cancer can stike without notice, and is the #1 cancer for men aged 15-35.
Founded In 2009, Oneball is a volunteer run organization consisting of testicular cancer survivors, stand-up friends, family members, and everyday people, all with the common goal of giving testicular cancer a kick in the groin! Oneball is, in a word, ballsy. We use humor and fun events to help men open up, but we’re not just fun and games. We provide critical information in a relatable way – like talking to a friend.
- Since Oneball's founding in 2009, we have raised over $200,000 to help give testicular cancer a kick in the groin!
- We have funded life changing research that has been published in the Journal of Clinical oncology which has the potential to transform how doctor's handle their patients follow up. The study showed that CT Scans might not be needed after two years, resulting in far less exposure to radiation for patients, and peace of mind up to three years earlier.
- New to 2017, the "Balls Out Bailout", Oneball's Patient Financial Assistance Program, has already begun to help fund it's first few patients (more details to follow). This program aims to help patients pay the over $6,000 of medications not covered by our health care in addition to day to day expenses like groceries and rent.
- Balls on the ground: Through our Student Chapters at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, we have now held a number events around each of the campuses that have now attracted hundreds participants and spectators, and more than a few cringeworthy ball jokes as well.
Our Programs How We Do It
Oneball provides services in three areas: Awareness, Research, and Patient Assistance. At Oneball, we believe that cancer is a journey, and aim to make sure we can help every step of the way. Additionally, we also believe that cancer is not just a disease, but a community - be it the caregivers around a patient, or the other incredible organizations in this sector, we need to make sure we're working with all of them.
With testicular cancer being a very curable disease (98% stage 1 and 96% stage 2), awareness is critical in making sure young men know what they can do to make sure they're balls are safe. To accomplish this, we have established two student chapters - one at the University of Calgary, and one at Mount Royal University. Our work through these student chapters ensures that we're delivering the experiences (like dodgeball!) that excite this demographic and will better guide them to learning more about this disease.
Even though we are a cancer charity, we realized something pretty startling: we are not trying to cure cancer. With such a high survival rate for testicular cancer, we feel as though our donation dollars are better spent on other areas of the testicular cancer journey such as improvements in treatment and follow up, developing a better understanding of the mental and emotion hardships of the disease, and more. In 2016 a Oneball funded research paper was published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Oncology which found that CT scans are no longer needed for testicular cancer patients two years after undergoing chemo-therapy. This means 3 years less exposure to radiation from the CT Scans (which can themselves cause cancer) and getting peace of mind for patients and their families 3 years earlier. This an example of how the research we fund can improve the lives of patients everywhere.
New to Oneball in 2017 is the introduction of our Oneball Patient Financial Assistance program, or as we like to call it, our "Balls out Bail Out". What if I told you that on top of all the physical and emotional challenges associated with testicular cancer, a patient might also have to suffer crippling financial challenges as well? Right now, a patient undergoing chemotherapy and radiation can be forced to pay over $6,000 for medications not covered by our health care system. In addition to these medications, the surgeries associated with testicular cancer can put a patient out of work for some time. It’s hard enough for most people to pay for basic amenities on a low income, imagine how hard it is if you're a young man who’s just starting out on his own and has to pay thousands of dollars for life-saving medications. Talk about kicking someone while he's down! With this in mind, Oneball, in a coordinated effort with Wellspring Calgary, are offering financial assistance to testicular cancer patients who are in dire straits by helping them pay for vital medications as well as other expenses.
Our Requests What You Can Do
So what can you do to help get the ball rolling? Like, follow, share, and visit our website and help spread the word about Oneball! We hope you can share a laugh with us at cancer's expense and help give testicular cancer, a kick in the groin.
DONATE - Your donation allows us to help give Testicular Cancer a kick in the groin!
Your donation will provide direct help to Canadian men currently being diagnosed, treated, or learning about testicular cancer. We're here to help fund the innovative research being done here in Canada, to educate fellow Canadians about testicular cancer, provide medications and financial support to Canadians currently being diagnosed with and treated for the disease. We hope you will give generously to the Oneball organization.
ATTEND AN EVENT - Check out our events section of our website to attend an upcoming Oneball event!
VOLUNTEER - Check out our volunteer page for current opportunities.
SPONSOR - Become a Oneballer MVP.
Our sponsors, both individuals and corporations are the pillars that help keep the roof over our heads. If you are looking to help sponsor Oneball in a bigger or more consistent way, please let us know!
PARTNER - Cancer is not just a disease, it's a community.
We are looking to partner with other organizations to help build the Cancer community and help more people through their Cancer journey. If your organization is looking to partner and help build the cancer community together, please let us know!