THE Big Merino’s rear end is famous the world over, with tourists certainly getting more than they bargained for this morning.
The sheep’s ‘crown jewels’ were painted dark blue and his back was emblazoned with the words ‘have you got the balls? # Blue September ’ in reference to the Blue September initiative.
Blue September raises awareness for men not only about testicular and prostate cancer, but all other forms of cancer including bowel, skin, liver, pancreatic and many other cancers.
Blue September campaign director Mike Chapman told the Post that the painting idea was a fantastic way to raise more awareness of these cancers in men.
“Sportsbet came to us with the idea, and we were really keen to promote it, because for guys in regional areas, the statistics for cancer are even worse,” Mr Chapman said.
“It’s cheeky, its silly, kind of what Blue September is all about. It might sound like a ‘dry old sell’- going to your doctor for early detection purposes, but this dresses it up a bit, and makes it nice and fun!”
Mr Chapman also emphasised how many men cancer affects in Australia each year.
“Some 22,000 Australian men die each year of various cancers, and by the age of 85, 1 in 2 of us is diagnosed with cancer, as opposed to 1 in 3 for women,” he said.
“A lot of that is to do with lifestyle choices for some men- the old ‘eating pies and drinking beer’, poor diets, not exercising, etc.
Cancer in young men
MR Chapman also addressed cancer in younger men, especially the incidence of testicular cancer.
“Testicular cancer is usually more prevalent in men in the 20-30s age group- a ‘young man’s cancer’,” he said.
“That’s why Sportsbet are such a useful tool for us in getting the message out to young men with their cheeky and slightly humourous approach.”
He also encouraged men to get more proactive with their bodies, getting men to work in a more preventative way – just like women grow up with having regular pap smears and breast checks, etc.
“I would say to young men, actually ‘get to know’ your testicles, because you’re down there often anyway,” Mr Chapman joked.
“While you’re ‘down there’ once a month actually get to feel the shape of your testicles and then check again the next month to ensure they still feel the same. Because that way, if something is wrong then you’ll know- the same rules as with women and their breasts.”
Big Merino owner Lindy Kerr was keen to emphasise that the Merino could be used in an unusual way.
“I think it is a fun and fairly high-profile way to get the message across to men about all forms of cancer,” Ms Kerr said.
“Its certainly a good cause, and I know the Sportsbet guys have put a lot of effort into getting this organised.”
She said that Rambo’s ... ummm... package would stay blue for the next few days, and that eventually he would get a good clean.
“I know that there will be a high pressure hose available to clean the paint off,” she said.
“In fact, Rambo’s rear end will most likely be the cleanest it has been in a long time- kind of like being him being ‘crotched’ I suppose!”