Traditional Scottish Garb Raises Questions and Awareness
Cassie Scott
cscot852@uwsp.edu

Three years ago co-founder, and now the President of Kilted to Kick Cancer, Justin Schorr started to wear a kilt to inform the public about cancer and prevention methods.

During the month of September about 100 men across the country, with representatives in 34 states and two other countries, wear a kilt to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer.

“Kilts make people ask,” Schorr said. “When they approach us, we can then tell them about the risks of cancer and get them to take action.”

Even if one person takes the steps to ask their doctor about the risks of prostate or testicular cancer, Schorr believes he has done his job.

“Some people run 5-ks, others wear kilts and I’d rather embarrass myself by wearing a kilt if it helps lift the stigma that talking about cancer risks are taboo,” Schorr said.

Most men are uneasy or unwilling to talk to their doctors openly about the risks. The kilt acts as a symbol which draws attention to the issue of male-specific cancers.

“The kilt draws attention. When people approach me, I am able to talk to them about and make them aware of the risks. I encourage men to get tested,” Schorr said.

Out of the 100 kilt-clad men, 12 of them wear a kilt to raise money for one of three programs: The Prostate Cancer Foundation, Livestrong.org and Bluecure.org. Fred Simons wears his to raise money for Livestrong.org.

Simons works full-time in the UWSP Security Office for Protective Services. He was interested in being involved after he realized it was a good cause and it was an excuse to purchase kilts.

“Kilts cost anywhere from $50-$300. I have four that I rotate through,” Simons said.

The 12 men who raise money for the organizations each have their own blog and participate in a friendly competition with each other. The one who raises the most money wins a prize from the sponsors of Kilted to Kick Cancer.

Kelly Grayson coordinated the fundraising campaign and made the necessary connections for the organization by cooperating with the three charities.

This is the first year Simons has participated in the fundraising competition and notes he will be doing it again in years to come.

“The idea is to wear the kilt anytime I’m not in my work uniform,” Simons said.

By wearing the kilt, he notes that many individuals give him a double-take or ask why he wears it, but he said he does not mind. He is able to use this initial shock as an avenue into a conversation about cancer awareness.

Schorr explains the difference between a kilt and a skirt is that you wear something underneath a skirt, and with a kilt, you do not. Simons said he is okay with going commando for a month.

“It’s a little strange at first, but once you get used to it, it is very comfortable and it certainly cuts down on the amount of laundry,” Simons said.

Schorr emphasized the aim of the organization is to promote cancer awareness and preventative measures.

“We aren’t trying to find a cure, we are trying to prevent cancer from happening,” Schorr said.

For more information about the Kilted to Kick Cancer organization, visit their homepage at www.kiltedtokickcancer.org.

Donations can be made to Simons’ blog at www.gunscoffee. blogspot.com.