Let's be honest, if you spend time around hockey November becomes one of those months where it's difficult to talk to some guys and keep a straight face. The facial hair is both awesome and awful as players and coaches grow mustaches to raise awareness, and ultimately funds, for men's health initiatives. The Movember campaign is particularly popular on college campuses.
That's good news for Ed Burkholder. The younger brother of Niagara coach Dave Burkholder is a testicular cancer survivor and shared his story with the Purple Eagles this week. (See the full story.)
Testicular cancer is the most common solid tumor in men 20-39 -- meaning the disease strikes college age men. Burkholder was in his mid-20s when he was diagnosed and has started speaking across Ontario and Western New York about his journey. He wants to erase the embarrassment many young men in talking about the disease and to encourage them to check themselves routinely and to see a doctor if something isn't quite right.
Burkholder has started his own social media campaign -- #checkyourselfexpressyourself. The "check yourself" part deals with physical health, and Burkholder notes it applies to both men and women. The "express yourself" part deals with mental health as Burkholder also talks about depression. Hockey is a sport which prides itself on toughness, but Burkholder encourages players to "not be too macho to say 'I feel down today.'"
— Niagara Hockey (@NiagaraUHockey) November 16, 2015