Our story told by founder, Dr. Michael J. 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 should not smoke cigarettes with my friends. 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.
The internet wasn't really then around like it is now. Some may say that was a good thing as WebMD wasn't available for self-diagnosis, but nonetheless, I had 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. If the health problem involved the penis, testicles, or anus, forget about it.
I chose to keep it to myself and worry.
After two months of obsessing about this lump that I felt every day and thought about constantly, I saw a urologist who examined me for about 10 seconds, which actually felt like 20 years. However, I started crying during the middle of the examination. I thought I was going to be told I had a month to live. Just as I felt like all hope was lost, though, he told me that I didn't have cancer. He told me that I had something called a varicocele and that it was treatable.
Men don't cry, right? Nonsense. Men do cry. Boys do cry. I cried. Openly and without shame.
A little older and a little wiser, it was at that point I learned the importance to knowing my body and paying attention to my health.
The varicocele came back about a decade later and I underwent treatment for it again, but I was more equipped to deal with the situation. The internet had more of a presence now. 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 make men, boys, and their loved ones healthier. 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 whatever other male you know and love.
Our work continues, though.
- Men and boys are currently living sicker and dying younger than their female counterparts
- More males die than females in almost every category of mortality
- Globally, males live, on average, 5 years less than females
....but Men's Health Initiative, Inc. is here to help. So, for all those males and loved ones who look out for them), those out there who are too afraid to say something, those who don't know how to say it, those who don't know what to do next, or anyone out there who just wants "to know"...
We are here for you and want to help.
That's what we are doing now...helping making a difference. Don't hesitate to contact us here at Men's Health Initiative, Inc. We want to help wherever we can.