[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Intermittent clouds
Intermittent clouds
74°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 20
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]


When people describe Julia Blair, the word “shy” is never used.

“Determined” – yes. “Passionate” – probably. But “quiet” just doesn’t apply.

Her laughter rings out easily and she knows her sense of humor is one of her sharpest skills, so she’s put that to work to protect her family.

Her husband and two sons, specifically. And every other male on the planet, if she has her way.

Blair is the driving force behind “Save Our Balls,” a slogan she displays proudly on royal blue shirts that she sells, along with wristbands and delicious cupcakes.

And yes, those are the balls she’s talking about. Simply put, Blair wants to use humor to bring as much awareness to testicular cancer as “Save the TaTas” has brought to breast cancer.

“‘Save the Ta Tas’ rocks my world; it’s funny, it’s clever and I thought great, we as women feel ourselves up once a month, sometimes more,” she said. “You’re gotta have a laugh every so often because that awareness is out there and we know that it’s something we can pay attention to – not control, but we can pay attention to. I know a lot of women, a lot of friends and family members who have found lumps and got it taken care of right away because of that.”

SOB_001When her father was diagnosed with renal carcinoma a few years ago, Blair hit the internet to research treatments and alternative therapies. As his cancer spread, doctors recommended chemotherapy, but offered little hope. He is currently on an alternative therapy, something that is taxing her parents’ somewhat fixed income.

Something else she learned while she was researching different cancers was that testicular cancer is a problem just as widespread and dangerous as breast cancer, but nobody talks about it – even doctors.

“I looked at my two boys, they are 8 and 11 and said wait a minute, they might be a little young for it, but nobody’s going to talk to them about it,” she said. “Unless a pediatrician has actually gone through having a patient have it, they usually don’t address it.

I’ve asked my friends who have boys, does your pediatrician ever talk to your kids about testicular cancer and that they can do a self-exam? No. Then there’s something wrong.”

Experienced in marketing and outreach, Blair started “Save Our Balls” as a humorous way of raising awareness and funds for both education and to help families who might be having trouble financially with treatment costs, as well as supporting nonprofits such as the American Cancer Society, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation (named for the sports anchor/announcer for the NY Mets who died of the disease at age 37).

A percentage of everything she sells – the aforementioned T-shirts, wristbands and cupcakes, and more items she has on her website (www.saveourballs.org) – goes directly to the charity.

“We’re not a 501c3 yet, but if there’s an attorney out there who wants to help us become one, that would be fantastic,” Blair added.

On Wednesday, Blair and her family were holding court in a corner of Chili’s restaurant in Canyon Country, where a percentage of the profits for that day were going to Save Our Balls. An earlier fundraiser at the Chili’s in Valencia brought in more than $400; early estimates for Wednesday’s event are around $225.

At this point, every penny counts.

“When you start something out, you wonder how people are going to accept it,” she said. “I’m finding out the humor factor works. I have heard more stories about teenage boys with testicular cancer. I’ve heard them survive, I’ve heard them not, I’ve heard parts of their journeys of what they’ve gone through. Especially with younger boys, when they start examining their bodies and are embarrassed, they’re afraid, they think they’ve done something wrong, and they don’t want to say anything to mom or dad, the doctor – are you kidding – until it passes being easy to fix. So as those stories started coming out, I knew I was on the right track.”

SOB3If anything, she’s succeeded in getting people to talk about it. Working the social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Julia and “left nut” husband Stu have spread the word and started chipping away at making the issue conversational instead of uncomfortable.

“Most people really get it, they think it’s amusing, they know that one of the ways we’re attacking this subject is through humor. I worked a long time in corporate America, and we were always told to keep a straight face, you must not laugh, you must not giggle in inappropriate times. Oh no, too bad, this is funny when you start talking about boys and their balls. It’s amusing, so let’s be funny and amusing about it and deal with the issue.”

“It’s been a really, really good response,” she continued. “If people don’t get it, to the people it offends, I’m sorry. Are you offended by a teenage boy who wears an “I Love Boobies” bracelet? OK, you are, I’m sorry. We don’t live in the dark ages anymore.”

Every story Blair read about young men losing their battle with cancer made her more determined to make early detection not just suggested, but routine, by using a tongue-in-cheek approach. She found that existing exam instructions were more technical than user-friendly.

“The drawings are anatomically correct, but you’re not going to get a 13, 14 or 15 years or older kid to look at that and let it sink in,” she explained.

Her father’s struggle with cancer and the side effects – both physical and fiscal- gives her an added dose of determination to move forward.

“I’m too optimistic,” she said. “He’s done a lot of research into alternative therapies, but they’re on kind of a fixed income and the medications aren’t cheap. He’s paying for it. But I know there are families out there who want to have alternative medication that can’t afford it.”

Just like the anatomical fixture that she is working to save, there are two important parts to her quest – to raise money for early detection and to help families pay for whatever therapies they choose.

“We’re not only raising money for awareness and getting information out there, especially to the younger guys, the boys, and the grown-up men who don’t deal with something unless it’s funny or amusing; we’re also funding alternative medications for people who can’t afford them.”

“Looking at what was going on with my dad, I felt powerless. I can’t fix it, I can’t make it better, I can’t control it,” she said. “Let me move along in a forward fashion, a powerful way and make a difference somewhere, so that’s what I’m doing.  I’m taking care of my boys.”

Learn more about Save Our Balls by visiting their website (www.saveourballs.org), liking their Facebook page (Facebook.com/saveourballs), on Twitter (@SaveOurBalls) or calling Blair at (661) 347OUR8.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NONPROFIT LINKS

NONPROFIT HEADLINES
Thursday, Jul 19, 2018
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Church is holding their 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show Friday, Aug. 24 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
Marston's Restaurant in Valencia is helping raise funds for Carousel Ranch, Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization that provides equestrian therapy for disabled and special needs children and adults.
Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
Members of Santa Clarita Valley home haunters Beware the Dark Realm will appear on a panel at the third annual "Midsummer Scream" Halloween Festival and scarefest at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29.
Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
The Sierra Hillbillies Square & Round Dance Club will throw a good old-fashioned picnic and dance to the calls of Jay Henderson at the SCV Senior Center on Sunday, August 5 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
Single Mother's Outreach is currently accepting honoree nominations and artist applications through July 30.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
During a press conference on Thursday at the Gerdau steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga, Chief Eric Parra announced the destruction of 3,566 weapons confiscated within in Los Angeles County. This event comes typically in July, in compliance with California Penal Code 18005(c), which calls for weapons unable to be sold to the public or returned to their owners, to be destroyed.
More than 3,500 Weapons Destroyed at Annual Destruction Event
The Summer Art Festival, at the Oaks Club of Valencia, invites you to a fun, free artists’ reception on Saturday, Aug. 11, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 11: Summer Art Festival at Oaks Club
When you think "Advanced Manufacturing," Santa Clarita Valley probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
SCV Paves the Way for Advanced Manufacturing
(CN) – Delivering a blow to a Silicon Valley billionaire, the California Supreme Court on Wednesday erased a November ballot measure proposing to divide the Golden State in three.
State Supreme Court Tosses Ballot Measure to Split California in Three
Internationally famous Doña Oxford aka “The Goddess of Soul,” is fronting one of the hottest Blues bands of the 21st century. She has toured all over the world, bringing her amazing keyboard playing and vocals to devoted fans in Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States.
July 20: Valencia Jazz & Blues Series to Feature Doña Oxford
No business is immune from the unthinkable. Workplace violence is an increasingly important topic for organizations of all types.
Aug. 21: Active Shooter Awareness Training at VIA Luncheon
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Church is holding their 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show Friday, Aug. 24 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: St. Kateri 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show
The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Thursday launched the Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal, dubbed LA-HOP, the new Countywide Web-based portal that channels outreach support to people experiencing homelessness.
County Launches Online Portal to Combat Homelessness
LOS ANGELES - Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced Tuesday the company is now offering $75 rebates for residential customers who purchase eligible Energy Star certified smart thermostats that help residents manage their heating and cooling costs and conserve energy.
SoCal Gas Offering Rebates for Customers with Smart Thermostats
STOCKTON – Brian Serven put together one of his best offensive performances of the season to lead the JetHakwks to a 7-2 to win over the Stockton Ports on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Serven Leads JetHawks to Victory in Series Opener Against Stockton
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Brad Renison to become the new Director of Transportation. Most recently, Mr. Renison has been serving as the Interim Director of Transportation.
Hart District Names Brad Renison New Transportation Director
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Díaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera.
Dodgers Acquire 4-Time All-Star Manny Machado
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Dr. Catherine Nicholas to become the new principal of Sequoia School.
Hart District Appoints Dr. Catherine Nicholas as New Sequoia School Principal
Welcome to paradise at a high-energy, live show coming up in Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union, this Saturday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m., in Central Park (27150 Bouquet Canyon Road).
July 21: Concerts in the Park to Feature Green Day Tribute Band
SCV Sheriff's Crime Prevention Unit deputies and station detectives have noted an increase in the thefts of catalytic converters from cars in Santa Clarita Valley. The favored target of thieves has been the Toyota Prius (2005-2009).
Deputies Warn of Rise in Catalytic Converter Thefts from Prius Cars
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy Thursday for sensitive individuals in San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
Would you like to be a volunteer at beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park? Learn about the volunteer program and the park’s natural and cultural history at our two-day volunteer training, Saturdays, Sept. 1st and 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Ricardo Visitor Center (new volunteers must attend both days).
Red Rock Canyon State Park to Hold 2-Day Volunteer Training
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces the scheduled closure of the Tejon Safety Roadside Rest Areas on Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) to replace a water main line.
Caltrans Announces Temporary Rest Area Closure on I-5 at Tejon
1924 - Sherman Block, L.A. County's 29th Sheriff (1982-1998), born in Chicago [story]
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies have arrested a Santa Clarita woman who allegedly spray-painted walls on a city park building in Saugus early Tuesday morning, also discovering she was allegedly in possession of forged checks.
Woman Charged with Defacing Park Building, Check Forgery
The Paramount Network has set Aug. 11 as the premiere date of 'I Am Paul Walker,' a new film documentary tracing the life of the late actor, who was killed in a 2013 car crash in Valencia.
Aug. 11: Paul Walker Film Doc to Debut on Paramount Network
Marston's Restaurant in Valencia is helping raise funds for Carousel Ranch, Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization that provides equestrian therapy for disabled and special needs children and adults.
July 15-Aug. 15: Marston’s Restaurant Fundraising for Carousel Ranch
Members of Santa Clarita Valley home haunters Beware the Dark Realm will appear on a panel at the third annual "Midsummer Scream" Halloween Festival and scarefest at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29.
July 28: SCV’s Beware the Dark Realm to Join Panel at Midsummer Scream
The Sierra Hillbillies Square & Round Dance Club will throw a good old-fashioned picnic and dance to the calls of Jay Henderson at the SCV Senior Center on Sunday, August 5 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sierra Hillbillies Set 2 Dances for August, September
A Spring Valley, California woman was arrested and charged for evading and resisting arrest on southbound Interstate 5 in Valencia late Tuesday night after a pursuit by the California Highway Patrol, according to the CHP.
CHP Pursuit Ends With Arrest of Woman on I-5 in Valencia
If you are a member of the U.S. House of Representatives with a private prison in your district, you are also more likely than your peers to co-sponsor punitive immigration legislation, according to a groundbreaking study by California State University, Northridge political science professor Jason Morin.
CSUN Study: Private Prison Operators Influencing Immigration Policy
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies handed out 25 traffic citations during a motorcycle safety enforcement operation in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
SCV Deputies Hand Out 25 Traffic Tickets in Safety Push
A Santa Clarita bank robbery suspect dubbed by the FBI as the "Faux Badge Bandit" is now also suspected of robbing banks in Northern California, according to authorities.
‘Faux Badge Bandit’ Also a Suspect in NoCal Bank Heists
A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday affirmed a federal judge’s order preliminarily barring California from enforcing a voter-approved ban on high-capacity gun magazines.
Ninth Circuit Upholds Block of California Gun Magazine Ban
The California Department of Motor Vehicles now offers customers a convenient way to complete a driver license or identification card application online before visiting a field office.
DMV Debuts Online Application for Driver License, State ID Card
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [NTSB report]
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours Mixer at Valencia Acura, Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Barger Casts Lone Vote Against Proposed Stormwater Tax
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Supes Move Forward with Efforts to Improve Local Water Supply, Quality
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
County Combines New, Existing Programs to Combat Homelessness