Students and staff arriving at the Nescot college canteen for lunch on Tuesday November 29 were confronted with teams of Health and Social Care students wielding condoms, model penises and even a pair of replica testicles.
The props were, however, for several very good causes as part of a project to raise awareness of medical issues relevant to the 16-19 age group. With one group focusing on the growing problem of teenage pregnancy and another looking at testicular cancer, the eyecatching exhibits and giveaways quickly drew students in to a discussion about the more serious underlying issues.
For Kacy McGuigan, 17, from Carshalton, the information about testicular cancer had certainly been eye-opening,
This is really good for awareness. I had no idea that most sufferers are in the 15 to 33 age group and that it’s more likely to affect white males. I’ll definitely take this seriously and follow the advice,’ he said.
The project was developed by the Health and Social Care students to deal with issues about which young people may feel more comfortable talking to their peers than adults. The students contacted local clinics and organisations to ensure their advice and information was as up to date as possible. They then worked on making the message engaging and memorable with slogans like: Check Yourself before you Wreck Yourself, posters and multimedia displays.
All funds raised went to the Royal Marsden Teenage Cancer Unit.
‘It’s been very worthwhile,’ said Karen Fallon, 20, from Leatherhead.
‘We’ve had people who thought there was no way they could get cancer because they don’t smoke, so they’ve been surprised to hear the facts. I think our age group is more likely to be open about issues like this with another teenager, we’re more approachable,’ she said.