Senior marketing major, Jason Greenspan, had to defer his enrollment to Shippensburg University in 2012 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Four years later, he transformed his life-changing diagnosis into a life-saving message and a Guinness Book of World Records attempt at Ship.
“I’m a four-year testicular cancer survivor, and I knew that going into my last semester at Ship I wanted to leave my legacy with testicular cancer awareness at the university,” Greenspan said.
On Nov. 6, 2017, Greenspan and the Shippensburg University community, with the support of Summit Health and the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation, attempted the world’s largest simultaneous self-check for testicular cancer during the #ShipsGotBalls event. Greenspan hoped to coordinate a simultaneous testicular self-check by 209 men. Ship surpassed the record with a total of 235 participants.
“Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 44, but it is 99 percent curable if detected early. Holding this event on a college campus to spread awareness is important because it can save a life,” he said.
While Greenspan’s motivation for the attempt was personal, he credits his experience as a marketing major at Ship for giving him the skills needed to organize and promote the event. Courses in marketing, advertising, fundraising and public relations have taught him something that relates to the planning and execution of this event.
He also put those classes to work during a summer internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Working with Dr. Phillip Pierorazio, director of testicular cancer, Greenspan organized several awareness and survival events.
“A few of my projects included organizing a quarterly survivor social, co-writing and filming a PSA and writing a testicular cancer awareness survey,” he said.
Returning to Ship after his summer internship, he hit the ground running to plan #ShipsGotBalls. From the attempt application process, to recruiting Summit Health as a sponsor, Greenspan has done it all. He engaged the entire campus community by working with athletics, clubs and Greek organizations. He also reached beyond the campus community to spread the word through local media features and social media campaigns.
He even created the attention-grabbing logo and name, in part, to start humorous conversations, but with a greater hope to change the stigma surrounding testicular cancer self-exams. As an outspoken four-year cancer survivor, he knows the topic of testicular cancer is often accompanied by jokes. He hopes to normalize self-exams to the level of the national “Feel your Boobies” campaign and ultimately save more lives.
Graduating in December 2017, Greenspan is waiting on the official ruling from Guinness on the world record, but will continue his advocacy. He hopes to find a career where he can continue raising testicular cancer awareness.
“This experience changed my life in so many ways but ultimately, it’s made me the person I am today. It’s made stronger, more confident, passionate and gave me a reason to live. I was in the fight for my life but I could see the end— the end of cancer and my new beginning of life as a cancer survivor.”