#InternationalMensDay: Meet the LAS men raising awareness for men’s health this month
Today is #InternationalMensDay and we’d like to introduce you to some of the LAS men who are raising awareness – and money – for men’s health this November.
These guys, their family, friends and colleagues, are all doing what they can to raise awareness and support for men’s mental and physical health. All of them have a close, personal connection to the causes they are supporting – whether it’s them fighting the battle against testicular cancer or losing someone they love because of mental health – and we are delighted to help share their stories with you.
This year’s theme is ‘making a difference for men and boys’, so please meet our staff who are turning their experiences into something good, by sharing their stories and encouraging other men and boys to look out for themselves and each other.
Rob, Payroll Manager
The Dawsons are something of a London Ambulance Service institution. Six of the Dawsons have racked up an incredible 75 years of service with us! Including our Payroll Manager, Rob.
In September, Rob was diagnosed with testicular cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. And he’s determined to turn his story into something good.
Rob said: “It’s been a hard time, but I want to help raise money and awareness however I can. I caught it early and I’m getting the treatment I need and hopefully I’m going to become a good statistic. But it’s essential to get anything you’re worried about checked out. It’s your current life and your future life.”
And like families do, the Dawsons are rallying round not only to support him and his family, but to raise awareness and money of testicular cancer and men’s health.
Dad, Ron, and brother, Joe, are growing moustaches for Movember and the rest of the family are doing all they can – including an LAS bake sale – to help raise money. So far they’ve raised an incredible £2,105, but still want all the support they can get.
Rob said: “Even though I caught it early, I still had to be operated on and have chemotherapy and I’m still not over the line. Knowing the signs, encouraging guys to check themselves and getting anything they’re worried about checked out is so important. And raising awareness of this is helping me keep going.”
Johann and Masih, Paramedics
Paramedics and pals Johann and Masih are teaming up for Movember, to raise money and awareness for men’s mental health.
Taking part this year sadly comes from personal tragedy as both have lost someone close to them because of it, but want to turn this into a positive story.
Johann said: “Mental health is so important to us both and there’s not much out there that focuses on it. We’ve both lost close friends and colleagues to it, but this year it’s giving us that drive to raise more awareness and support.”
And they’ve even turned that drive into a rap they’ve shared with all their colleagues:
“Dumb dumb dummy… we ain’t being funny. Dip in ya wallets, take out… ya money money. Send it to ya brothers, it’s for a good cause, help us reach our goal so we can pause-pause… applause, for the support you’ve been dishin but there’s a little something missin. If a bloke hints for help, don’t be so dismissive.
“Take a seat and listen, you may need a tissue, cos we’ll tell you a little something about this serious issue.
We both lost close friends this year, mental health, that’s how! But, do we need to keep losing friends or family to start thinking about it now?”
Kieran, Emergency Call Coordinator
For a living, Kieran saves lives over the phone, but last March, on his 21st birthday, Kieran was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He fought the battle and won, and was given the all clear in June this year.
Typical of Kieran’s work ethic – as he also volunteers for St John Ambulance – he worked the whole time during his treatment
He said: “Working kept me going really. I have suffered a lot with my mental health, but work really got me through. My colleagues were so supportive and were like family to me.”
Kieran is a keen supporter of men’s health and mental health causes and does a lot to promote these on social media and with friends, family and colleagues.
He said: “I want to raise awareness of how important it is to get yourself checked, because I don’t want this to happen to other people. When I take 999 calls from people in a similar situation, it can really get to me, so I want to be part of something that helps raise awareness and gets men to know the symptoms.”
Aaron, Project Manager
Aaron is another member of the LAS family raising awareness and money for men’s health this month, specifically for mental health.
He said: “I’m taking part in Movember again this year to raise awareness for mental health issues facing men, specifically depression. It’s still not seen as a ‘manly’ thing to admit or talk about, but these are huge issues facing the male population and need to be accepted as real, treatable and normal. And that’s why I like to do Movember, to raise awareness that it’s okay to open up and talk about it.
“We need to bring men’s mental health issues into the public domain to make them socially acceptable to discuss. Depression and mental health is important! Don’t ignore the warning signs.”
Dom, Incident Response Officer
Another LAS MoBro attempting Movember this year is Dom, one of our incident response officers.
He’s raising money and awareness for men’s mental health, and to get the conversation going.
He said: “I’m raising funds and awareness this Movember for all the Dads, brothers, sons and mates in our lives. Opening up about mental health is so important, and I’m really grateful for everyone’s help.”