The birth of a movement from false security
Our story told by founder, Dr. Michael Rovito
It's a very odd feeling when you discover a lump in/on your body. I usually describe to people that it feels like a sense of disbelief with a hint of "are you kidding me?". I found a lump on my left testicle when I was 17 years old. As soon as I felt it, I thought it was cancer.
I really didn't know too much about my health besides that I should eat and exercise healthily and that I probably shouldn't smoke cigarettes with my friends. But, in a sense, I was innocently ignorant of what I should know and what I should be doing.
I was hesitant to let anyone know what I had found, and I had very limited options to figure out what this lump was. A 17 year-old young man usually has reservations bringing up most health concerns to anybody, particularly when it involves anything below the belt and above the thighs.
I chose to keep it to myself and worry, until I found it in me to see a urologist. During the examination, which lasted about 10 seconds but felt forever, I started to cry. Men don't cry, right? Nonsense. Men do cry. Boys do cry. I cried. I was told that I had a varicocele and that it was treatable.
It was at that point I not only learned the importance to knowing my body and paying attention to my health but, that it's also ok to feel vulnerable. The varicocele came back about a decade later and I underwent treatment for it again. But this time around, I was more equipped to deal with the situation.
During this time, I delved further into learning more about the health of men and boys. I thought of all the available inspirational campaigns and sources of information that guys would have at their fingertips that would facilitate their awareness, health decision making skills, and sense of empowerment. But what I found was far from that. As I ventured to learn more as to why we're surrounded by a community largely lacking in the support of male health, a collective group of like-minded individuals began to come together. Either through personal experiences or similar encounters by loved ones, these individuals wanted to help other males.
This was the start of a movement to help men, boys, and their loved ones towards the progression to achieving optimal health and wellness. This was the beginning of the Men's Health Initiative, Inc. This organization is now our collective action to promote health and wellness for every son, husband, father, uncle, friend, or any other male you know and love.
So, for all those males and loved ones who look out for them, those too afraid to say something, those who don't know how to say it, those who feel like society is against them, those who don't know what to do next, or anyone out there who wants to help... we are here for you. We are here to make a difference in the life of the males we love because everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve optimal health and wellness.
"Everyone deserves an opportunity to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Only through collective action, however, can we dare to achieve the greatest health for the greatest amount in our communities. " -Michael Rovito, PhD, CHES, FMHI