Love Your Nuts (LYN) is a registered Section 18A, non-profit testicular cancer awareness campaign based in South Africa.
LYN goal is to raise awareness of testicular cancer by educating communities about the ‘rarely spoken about’ cancer that often remains undetected in young adults due to the diverse society in South Africa, where cultural taboos, stigmas and lack of knowledge about the subject is rife.
In his thirties, Torsten Koehler, the founder of LYN Foundation, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1995 ironically whilst educating young teenagers about sex education at a school where he was employed as a teacher.
His journey of survival started by openly confronting his thoughts and emotions, relating the reactions of his friends, family and not least, his students, who gave him enormous help and hope. With their encouragement, the German version of his book “Love your nuts” was published in Germany in 2004 and thereafter in English in 2011.
The motivation to start this foundation was inspired a former student who thanked him for making him aware during his awareness sessions at the school they attended:
“Because you made us aware I went to the doctor in time. I’ve got testicular cancer too. I’m 16 and you saved my life”.
Torsten is now sharing his story through the platform of the Love Your Nuts Foundation emphasising how everybody is valuable they are and how fantastic life can be and therefore has a passion for this campaign.
The goal of Love Your Nuts is to raise awareness of (testicular) cancer by educating communities about the rarely spoken about cancer that often remains undetected in young adults due to our diverse society in South Africa, where cultural taboos, stigmas and a lack of knowledge about the subject is widespread.
What we do
We believe that no men would die of testicular cancer* if they knew about this young man’s cancer and were aware of how to prevent it.
Boys/men die for the following 2 reasons:
- During puberty the body changes. Boys feel these lumps but think it is part of growing up. So they think it will go away again. If they knew that it could be cancer their lives could have been saved!
- Men feel the lumps but find it too embarrassing to go to the doctor. If they knew that it could be cancer their lives could have been saved.
If we can bring awareness to all boys/men in an early stage in their lives they will be saved. Knowledge and early detection is the best weapon against cancer!
This can be changed through LYN awareness where men which know their bodies can have a better outcome and have a chance of correct diagnosis and hence treatment. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in males aged 15-39, which are young teenagers and their fathers (Reference: CANSA – Men’s Health).
Men represent nearly 50% of the population, with more than seven million in the age category which have testicular cancer as the most common cancer diagnosed. The most effective weapon against cancer is knowledge. If you consider that one-in-four individuals may be affected by the disease during their lifetime, you will realise how powerful knowledge is in terms of risk reduction, prevention and early detection.
LYN will focus on establishing a continuous awareness campaign through engaging with young males (and females) at school, where the 15-year old teenager and his (her) father of 35 years of age is actively engaged and share this knowledge and potential support for their families to overcome myths of cancer.
The foundation’s projects include:
- Cancer school programme to all South African schools for Gr 3 to 12. The major goals throughout the programme are:
- What can I do/or where can I find help if I’m diagnosed with cancer?
- How can I support a family member or friend that is diagnosed with cancer?
- What can I do in my community to educate and raise awareness?
- Educational stage play “Nuts about you” for high schools
- Talks at schools, corporates, sport clubs
- Donating the book “Love your Nuts – Testicular cancer touched my life” to the school library
- Events: Comrades, Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town Cycle Tour, Amashova Cycle Race and other
- Info stands
- Water points
- Runners/cyclists in branded LYN gear
- LYN own runs & mountain biking events.
- Annual trail runs/mountain bike races on Cloof Wine Estate, Darling
- Vale 2 View Cycle Race – 5 day/720km cycling trip from Edenvale, Johannesburg to Durban
- Nuts & Bolts Rally – a 4 days trip with old cars into the Karoo. The cars must be 30 years or older and shouldn’t have cost more than R 30 000. This means some of them will break down. The rally simulates a cancer journey: it’s a tough road, it goes up and down and if you break down you need buddy support to get you going again
- Merchandise for sale: Shirts (running & cycling), Speedos, Caps, Underwear, Bike Nuts, Book
- Emotional support for men diagnosed with testicular cancer
- Building a network of survivors nationwide/worldwide
Love your Nuts in a Nutshell
Love Your Nuts – in a Nutshell (introduction, purpose, what we do, projects and how you can get involved).
Overview of the organisation (summary, campaign service history and images).
For 3 years LYN was a project of "People living with Cancer" (PLWC) before becoming an own entity. Find LYN in their reports here:
PLWC 2017 Annual Report - will be uploaded once released
PLWC 2016 Annual Report
PLWC 2015 Annual Report
The founder of the Love Your Nuts Foundation was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1995 whilst educating young teenagers about ‘sex education’ at a school and being in his early thirties himself. His journey of survival started by openly confronting in his book his thoughts and emotions, relate the reactions of his friends, family and not least, his students, who provoked him without reserve and in doing so, gave him enormous help and hope. His book “Love your nuts” was published internationally in 2011 in English (German version was published in Germany in 2004 already). "He has won, he lives and he loves. He is showing everybody how valuable they are and how fantastic life can be" (a reader's words) and therefore has a passion for this campaign.
*Testicular cancer facts:
The survival rate is higher for men diagnosed with early-stage cancer and lower for men with later-stage cancer. For men with cancer that has not spread beyond the testicles (Stage 1), the survival rate is 99%. Approximately 68% of men are diagnosed at this stage.
For men with cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen, called the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, the survival rate is about 96%. But, this depends on the size of the lymph nodes with cancer. For men with cancer that has spread outside the testicles to areas beyond the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, the survival rate is 73%. About 11% of testicular cancer is diagnosed at this stage.
(Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017: Special Section – Rare Cancers in Adults, and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.)