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I started the NOMAN campaign with my sisters Justine and Camille and the overwhelming support of our inaugural participants, to increase awareness about the Human Papillomavirus and its connection to men, while creating a unique endurance experience designed to represent the struggle and isolation that many cancer patients feel’ especially those that carry an extremely challenging stigma. Caring for my mother Paulette Isabel Crowther, Justine, Camille and I saw how the emotional anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can sometimes be more challenging than the side effects of physical treatment. Relying on each other for mutual support along our journey, we worked as a unit to provide Paulette with constant care to help her navigate the difficult diagnosis of Stage IV HPV-related anal cancer. When she passed away in 2010, we were devastated, but Paulette’s incredible spirit spurred us to understand how we could help prevent HPV from ending someone’s life early again.
The more we discovered, the more shocked we became:
- 80% of people are exposed to HPV at some point in their life.
- HPV causes 5% of cancer cases. Cancers caused by HPV are increasing, not decreasing.
- Only one new drug to treat any HPV-related cancer has been approved in the past 15 years.
- Two approved vaccines, however, exist. They both protect against the most common cancercausing HPVs.
- HPV causes cancer in both men and women. In ten years time, more men than women will suffer from HPV-related cancers in developed countries.
- In almost all countries, boys are not provided universal access to HPV vaccines.
To achieve our finish-line goal of beating HPV-related cancer, we must work together across genders, populations, and institutions. NOMAN illustrates that no-one can fight HPV-related cancers alone, certainly not by targeting one gender in isolation when both genders are affected by HPV. A gender-neutral virus requires a gender-neutral vaccine.
NOMAN is more than a race, it is a call to action.
Co-Founder, President, HPVAC Foundation
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