The annual Feb-U-Hairy campaign by Memorial University medical students and Planned Parenthood will start with a bake sale on Friday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the medical school lobby of the Health Sciences Centre.
Medical students at Memorial have come up with a unique way of raising awareness and funds about cervical cancer and the importance of pap test screening. For the fourth consecutive year, they are dubbing the month of February as Feb-U-Hairy and challenging participants to grow leg hair for the entire month.
Medical student Angelique Myles explaines the challenge: If you normally shave your legs, you have to let them grow for 28 days. If you normally keep your legs hairy, ask your friends to donate until you reach your fundraising goal then shave them smooth!
Over the last three years the number of participants and the amount of money raised has been growing steadily, according to Costa Kasimos, executive director of Planned Parenthood. The campaign has raised more than $13,000, with money going to support the pap screening clinics at Planned Parenthood and ongoing sexual health education programs.
Kathleen Callanan and Ms. Myles, both medical students at Memorial, came up with the fundraising idea in 2009 and approached Planned Parenthood as a potential partner. Since then, Feb-U-Hairy has continued to grow.
We received an enthusiastic response, said Ms. Callanan. We hope that the success of the challenge will continue to grow!
Encouragingly, the cervical cancer screening rates amongst eligible women in the province has improved in recent years, from 58 per cent before 2000 to 78 per cent in 2011. Health practitioners in the province would like to see the cervical screening rate increase to 85 per cent. Ms. Myles explained that 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases can be prevented by regular pap tests.
Feb-U-Hairy draws attention to this health issue by engaging the public in a lighthearted challenge involving the growth of leg hair. Like the last three years, the students also hope to use the challenge to educate participants and the general public about the importance of pap tests. The concept, says
Ms. Callanan, stems from the Movember prostate cancer campaign, a successful fundraiser that encourages men to grow mustaches and collect donations from sponsors during the month of November.
Get involved with the campaign by getting in touch at one of the following:
· Twitter: @febuhairy