Medical students at Memorial have come up with a unique way of raising awareness and funds about cervical cancer and the importance of regular screening.
For the third consecutive year, they are dubbing the month of February as Feb-U-Hairy and challenging women to grow leg hair for the entire month.
Over the last two years more than 80 participants have taken part in the campaign and have raised $7,700, in support of pap screening clinics at Planned Parenthood. A bake sale will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Faculty of Medicine lobby at the Health Sciences Centre to launch Feb-U-Hairy.
Kathleen Callanan and Angelique Myles, both medical students at Memorial, came up with the idea in 2009 and approached Planned Parenthood as a potential partner. Since then, Feb-U-Hairy has continued to grow, with support coming from both within and outside the medical school.
We received an enthusiastic response, and all funds raised will be donated to Planned Parenthood in support of their pap clinics, said Ms. Callanan. We hope that the success of the challenge will continue to grow.
Ms. Myles said it is encouraging that 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, she said. Ninety per cent of cervical cancer cases can be prevented by regular pap tests.
The Feb-U-Hairy fundraiser will draw attention to this womens health issue by engaging the public in a lighthearted challenge involving the growth of leg hair. Like the last two years, the students also hope to use the challenge to educate participants and the general public 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 grow mustaches and collect donations from sponsors in support of their efforts during the month of November. This past November, there were several Movember teams within the Faculty of Medicine, including a team made up of medical students and James Rourke, dean of medicine.
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 the Feb-U-Hairy website you can find more information about the challenge and access the online registration and donation system at www.febuhairy.dojiggy.com/.