Why Blue September?

For long-time Blue September Ambassador Jason Gunn, Blue September 2020 was much more personal. Long-time friend and puppeteer Alan Henderson died in February from prostate cancer.

It’s only when prostate cancer affects someone close to you, that it becomes a real thing. It happened to Jason with the death of Alan, and this becomes the overarching theme of our 2020 Blue September campaign.

A generation of New Zealanders will remember Thingee from the Son of a Gunn Show. “This year, my mate Alan lost his battle with prostate cancer, which means Thingee lost his voice," said Jason "but if he could talk, he’d ask you to help us fight this. More than 600 men in NZ die from Prostate Cancer, every year. It’s a real Thingee. Help fight it, by throwing a Blue Do. Do it for your loved ones, do it for Thingee.”

With one in eight men getting prostate cancer, early diagnosis and effective treatment saves lives. Early detection is key and don’t wait for symptoms, many men don’t have them when they are first diagnosed. Typically men don’t know how dangerous this disease is, they don’t talk to their doctor about it, their doctor doesn’t talk to them about it, or they simply don’t know they may have it as they have no symptoms and don’t feel unwell. 

Moana 'Mo' Hoera and Vivian 'Viv' Hahipene have both been successfully treated for prostate cancer. Both agree that 'early detection is the best protection' and both are passionate about increasing awareness among Maori men, who are much more likely to die once diagnosed than non-Maori men. 

Mo, from Opotiki, is working closely with the local DHB and Maori Health Workers in a project to create greater awareness of prostate cancer and, improve diagnosis and treatment for Maori men in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. 

Viv is from Te Teko and experienced many health system communication issues and delays during his difficult 14-month journey before finally receiving successful treatment. He is regularly engages in korero about prostate cancer with members of the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne communities. 

I'd like to take the chance to thank Blue September and a friend of mine, John. I was having some of the symptoms of prostate problems for a couple of months but didn't know the possible significance of those symptoms. Thanks to you guys, I went and got the full check-up and, luckily, was given the all clear. I was worried for a while but I would advise everyone to get checked if they have the slightest doubt. It's really not that bad and could save your life.