THE BLOG

This Testicular Cancer Survivor's Got Ball

10/13/2010 02:20 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Like most people, I knew the time would come when I'd need to write a 650-word missive about a dude's testicles. This is more or less a rite of passage in a man's life, and at the risk of ending an opening paragraph with a preposition, a challenge I'm ready to rise up to.

Mark McIntyre is spending 25 days sequestered inside in a downtown Toronto loft, raising money for testicular cancer awareness. Sounds easy enough, but there are a few caveats. Cameras and microphones are pointed at him every waking minute, the video streaming live on the web at www.guyathome.com. He's forbidden to go outside. And the clincher: he's required to spend the entire three and a half weeks wearing nothing but his underwear. Unless one's a buff 22-year-old with The Situation-esque abs, this ain't always a forgiving look.

The quirky project is the brainchild of Stanfield's, a Canadian underwear company footing the bill for the event. Hence the idea of modeling Mark in a different pair of fashionable skivvies each day. Personally, I'm a Fruit of the Loom guy; their cotton boxer-briefs gingerly hug my boys like a mother panda cradling her newborn. But so be it -- when you peel back the Stanfield's product placement, there's a rather captivating Internet phenomenon in the making.

Think of it as Big Brother meets The Omega Man. Minus the homicidal mutants and host Julie Chen (Ms. Chen's homicidal mutant status remained unconfirmed as of press time). A grueling process to be sure, both physically and psychologically. But The Guy at Home in His Underwear, as he's being touted, has a vested interest in seeing it through.

A testicular cancer survivor, Mark uncovered his illness in a less-than-expected way. A while back, he landed a job working as a professional patient at the University of Toronto. Medical students performed cursory examinations on him as he'd pretend to be afflicted by various ailments (consumption, the rickets and other trendy diseases-du-jour). Seeking out the bigger paycheck, Mark soon agreed to the more invasive stuff: prostate and testicular examinations. This cash grab may have saved his life. As Gordon Gekko once posited in Wall Street, Greed is good ... for your junk.

At the end of the examination, the chief urologist on staff thanked Mark for his time and provided some parting words, "You may want to get an ultrasound. Could be nothing, but I spotted a small lump."

Three weeks later, Mark was in surgery, saying goodbye to one of his nards. To some, this would be distressing news. Mark, ever the positive hombre, saw it differently: the early detection led to his complete recovery; no radiation or chemotherapy required. To boot, he was fitted with a prosthetic testicle to balance things out down there. You know, for da ladies and whatnot.

Fast forward to present day, and Mark's on a gitch-fueled fundraising tear. His goal? To raise a minimum of $25,000. For everyone who ventures to the website and clicks the 'like' button, Stanfield's will donate a dollar towards testicular cancer awareness. And those who enjoy seeing a grown man suffer on the Internet can bequeath a little dough to the weekly challenges. When certain donation targets are met, Mark will receive a squirm-inducing chest wax and a rather painful tattoo (tramp stamp? Fingers crossed!). He'll also fry up a mammoth amount of grease-splattering bacon wearing nothing but his tighty-whities. This may sound mean, but it's a cruel kind of mean, which somehow makes it awesome.

Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy in young men between the ages of 20 and 34. It's also the number one cancer killer for guys in that age bracket. Crappy statistics indeed. On the plus side, it's almost always curable when detected early. So gents, when your next hot shower comes around, give those downstairs bits a little feel-up. Let's be frank, you probably do that already. Just pay attention this time, for the love of balls.