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REF NO.: 103

SUBJECT: Memorial University students issue hairy leg challenge to promote cervical cancer screening and awareness

DATE: Jan. 24,2011

Two medical students have come up with a unique way of raising awareness and funds about cervical cancer and the importance of regular screening.
They are dubbing February as “Feb-U-Hairy” and challenging women and men to grow leg hair from Feb. 1-28. This year will be the second year for the challenge. Last year, there were over 50 participants and almost $3,000 was raised. They hope that the success of the challenge will continue to grow.
Kathleen Callanan and Angelique Myles, both medical students at Memorial University, came up with this fundraising idea and approached Planned Parenthood as a potential partner. “We received an enthusiastic response, and all funds raised will be donated to Planned Parenthood in support of their Pap clinics,” said Ms. Callanan.
Ms. Myles explained that 90 per cent of cervical cancer can be prevented by regular Pap tests, but women in Newfoundland and Labrador have one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the country.
This fundraiser will draw attention to this women’s health issue by engaging the public in a light-hearted challenge involving the growth of leg hair. As last year, the students also hope to use the challenge to educate participants about the importance of regular pap tests.
The concept, explained Ms. Callanan, stems from the Movember prostate cancer campaign, a successful fundraiser that encourages men to collect donations from sponsors in support of their efforts to grow a mustache during the month of November.
As a local sister campaign, “Feb-U-Hairy” encourages women (and men) to collect donations from sponsors in support of their leg hair growth. By going to Planned Parenthood’s website, www.nlsexualhealthcentre.org,  one can access a link to the Feb-u-Hairy online registration and donation system.
For more information email febuhairy.fundraiser@gmail.com.
A closing party for participants will be held on Feb. 28, on campus, with guest speakers and prizes.

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For more information, please contact Virginia Middleton, communications co-ordinator, Medicine, at (709) 777-8285, virginia.middleton@med.mun.ca; Kathleen Callanan at 746-5281, kathleen.callanan@gmail.com; Angelique Myles at 749-9697, angeliquemyles@gmail.com; or Costa Kasimos at 579-1009, executivedirector@nlsexualhealthcentre.org.  

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