Former Oregon Duck and NBA basketball star Greg Ballard has died from prostate cancer at age 61.
Ballard won a championship with the Washington Bullets in 1978, when they beat the Seattle SuperSonics in the seventh game of the NBA Finals. Ironically, the 6' 7" power forward finished his career with the Sonics in 1989.
Ballard's passing Nov. 9 comes at a time when PEMCO, like individuals and companies across our land and around the world, is promoting men's health awareness through Movember fundraising.
PEMCO's efforts date to at least 2012, when our Movember team (pictured below) grew mustaches and beards that ranged from sublime to scruffy. But style wasn't the objective – raising awareness of how men can "change the face of men's health" was the point.
Our own work colleagues have battled men's health problems, including our CEO, Stan McNaughton. Stan doesn't mind people knowing – in fact, he purposely shares his story so that men will know the importance of annual physicals, early cancer detection, and "owning your own health."
Several of us signed up for the Mo PEMCO team again this year. We have fun with what can be an unsettling topic by joking with each other about our appearances. Some colleagues (like me) grow grubby beards, much to the dismay of our spouses. Others grow sparse and spotty facial hair that takes a month to gain attention. And some colleagues sprout thick and fearsome stubble before noon!
None of that escapes comment, of course.
In the end, the goal is to raise money for health awareness. But more than that, the mustaches and beards are a trigger to spark conversations about men owning their own health.
Otherwise, guys live in a world where ignorance isn't bliss – it's deadly.
Top photo from Washington Bullets press packet