31 August 2016

#Pass4Prostate tackles men’s health issues via social media

Wednesday 31 August – Sydney, Australia – The Buildcorp National Rugby Championship will use this weekend’s games to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

The Buildcorp NRC, via the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), and Astellas Pharma Australia have teamed up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia (PCFA) to launch #Pass4Prostate.

Each of the four home teams that take to the field in this weekend’s Buildcorp NRC games will wear pale blue socks to coincide with the competition’s Father’s Day round. Match officials will also show their support by wearing pale blue jerseys.

Fans across Australia can show their support for the initiative by "throwing a football pass" on   their personal social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram;

  • State why they are raising awareness of prostate cancer and;
  • State why it is important not to ‘drop the ball’;
  • Tag your friends to keep the ball rolling.

In support of the #Pass4Prostate initiative, Astellas Pharma is donating a $10,000 cheque to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

On Friday, the Sydney Rays entertain the Perth Spirit; Saturday will see 2014 and 2015 champions Brisbane City take on the Western Sydney Rams. Meanwhile, Queensland Country make the trip to take on the Melbourne Rising with the UC Vikings meeting the NSW Country Eagles in Canberra.

Managing Director of Astellas Pharma in Australia, Osamu Takenoya, said the company was excited to be supporting the campaign.

"Astellas is constantly looking for ways to use sponsorships to promote better health around the world. This rugby-oriented social media campaign will hopefully raise awareness of prostate cancer and drive substantial fundraising for the not-for-profit groups that are so important in providing support for men and their families affected by prostate cancer," said Mr Takenoya.

Associate Professor Anthony Lowe, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, said that more campaigns like this were needed to get Australian men to face up to important health issues.

"Prostate cancer takes the lives of nine Australian men each and every day. Early detection and management of the disease is key, so an innovative campaign like #Pass4Prostate will save lives if it can inspire Australian men to take action and talk to their doctor about prostate cancer," Mr Lowe said.

Sydney Rays player, Damien Fitzpatrick, who has been personally affected by prostate cancer said he would be proud to wear the pale blue socks to raise awareness of the disease.

"Prostate cancer is a very real threat to every male at some point in life," Fitzpatrick said. "My Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago after a regular examination and at the time, doctors thought they had caught it early enough."

"But a few months post-operation we discovered that the cancer had spread, even though they believed it had been detected very early on. Dad has since undergone radiotherapy and thankfully has been in remission since. If it wasn't for Dad's routine check-up, who knows how this story may have ended."

"Prostate cancer is incredibly fast spreading so I highly recommend all men in the age bracket to take it seriously and organise regular check ups."

Each year, close to 3,300 Australian men die as a direct result of prostate cancer.  More information on the campaign and social media initiative can be found at the campaign website www.pass4prostate.com.au