I don't have kids and my own father died several years ago, so how do I spend my Father's Day weekend?
- I watch the U.S. Open without guilt and without having to avoid kids.
- In solidarity with my friends who are fathers, I'll buy myself a tie I don't want, or maybe another Old Spice Gift Set to join the others on a shelf in the garage (who uses 'soap on a rope' except in prison showers?).
- I won't stand in line for a Special Father's Day Brunch (really, brunch is so Mother's Day!).
- Oh, and I'll think about cancer.
As a cancer survivor I think about cancer a lot; not as much as I think about sports -- I mean I am a guy after all. And on Father's Day weekend, I think of the cancer that affects fathers a lot -- prostate cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. That's a staggering statistic. And here's something that's even more staggering -- most men don't even know that. They may know that breast cancer strikes one of eight women, but they aren't aware of this more common disease that attacks only their own gender. Why? Because men are stupid? Well, there's that, but the reason is more stupid still:
Because guys don't talk about their health.
I won't get into all the reasons -- not in this post anyway -- because it's kind of embarrassing. But that's one of the reasons that I repurposed my own career as a producer of television events into one that uses those creative juices (well, some kind of juices) to focus attention on important health issues.
A year and a half ago, Edge Health (as my company is called) created "On the Line," a prostate cancer awareness campaign that encourages men to take charge of their health. Since then, we've expanded by establishing the On the Line Foundation to raise funds for prostate cancer education, awareness and research. And now we're using our entertainment background and experience to push even further.
For example, I produce the Teen Choice Awards, an established, wildly popular TV special now in its 14th year, where teens vote for their favorite performing artists, songs and other pop culture moments and heroes. This year, we premiered the Big Daddy Awards, a web based awards "show," (bigdaddyawards.com) to honor fathers who are celebrities in a wide variety of areas from " TV Dad Big Daddy" to "Bald and Beautiful Big Daddy" to "Country Music Big Daddy" to "Pro Basketball Big Daddy" and many more -- more than 30 categories in all. The nominees are the Big Daddies in their respective fields. They range from Robert De Niro to Brad Pitt to President Barack Obama to Johnny Depp to LeBron James. Just like the Teen Choice Awards, we're having a bit of fun, but we're also using the occasion to promote a discussion about prostate cancer. The voting ends on Father's Day, this Sunday. What better day? And what better way to celebrate our fathers. Be sure you support the cause by voting for your favorite "Big Daddy's" at bigdaddyawards.com.