Shalom Life | June 18, 2015

Wear Plaid for Dad to End Prostate Cancer

This Father's Day, make sure you #wearplaidfordad to support the fight against prostate cancer

By: Brad Beale

Published: June 17th, 2015 in Health » World

Wear Plaid for Dad to End Prostate Cancer

Photo: Don Cherry, king of plaid

Credit: Screenshot


Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada, and Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, are putting a fun twist on a serious issue. They are asking Canadians to meet their challenge and wear plaid on June 19th to support the fight against prostate cancer.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Rossi to discuss the origin of the Wear Plaid for Dad campaign, one that's symbolic with Jewish values (particularly tikkun olam) and his commitment to the fight against prostate cancer.


Rossi and Norman came up with the concept over lunch several months back. The Vice-Admiral understands the dangers of below the belt cancer, being a survivor of testicular cancer himself, and wanted to help raise awareness. Rossi explained that the two decided on plaid because they wanted to be loud, and “what's louder, or more Canadian, than plaid?” They respectfully waited until after Mother's Day before announcing the launch on May 14th.

According to Rossi, “one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. When prostate cancer is caught and treated in the early stages, the survival rate is over 90%. That number shrinks to under twenty-five percent for those catching it in the later stages.” Rocco and I talked about men being macho, and not wanting to show vulnerability. He wants awareness to lead to a new kind of “manning up,” so that men, “get tested, take care of themselves, and take care of their families.”

We have made some progress in Canada over the last twenty years, as mortality has decreased by forty percent, from 6,500 deaths a year to 4,000, but, as Rossi points out, “that's still the size of a town,” and he's hoping that number shrinks dramatically.

Wear Plaid for Dad boasts a number of celebrity pledges, including Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist W. Brett Wilson, an advocate for Prostate Cancer Canada, who has beaten the disease twice; Hockey Night in Canada personality, and the king of plaid, Don Cherry; host of the Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here, John Catucci; and lifetime hoser Dave Thomas.

President of the Toronto Police Association, Mike McCormack, and Chief of Police Mark Saunders are doing their part, and Toronto officers will be wearing plaid socks on June 19th.

The rest of the country is catching on as well.

Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston has challenged all Alberta mayors to show their support, and the Medicine Hat Mavericks of the Western Major Baseball League, will be wearing plaid jerseys for this Friday's home game, and auctioning them off for the cause. More than fifteen businesses in Medicine Hat are participating.

Let's do our part this Father's Day weekend and show our support for dads by wearing plaid. Please visit the website to make a donation, and post your picture on Twitter using the hashtag #wearplaidfordad,

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