Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Men on Fire for Mens Health Week


Mr DARREN WEBBER (Wyong) [6.25 p.m.]: On Saturday 8 June I had the privilege of officially opening the Men on Fire event in the grounds of the Wyong Neighbourhood Centre in my electorate of Wyong. At first glance one might have concerns with that title, but the event is a celebration of men's lives and marked the start of Men's Health Week 2013, which was officially recognised from 10 June until 16 June this year. Men's Health Week is about highlighting men's health .The best way to improve men's health is for local services, groups and individuals to tackle the most important health issues relevant to local blokes and for men to start taking a more active role in looking after their health.

Men's health is significant, because boys and men generally suffer more illness and accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts. Sadly, men take their lives at four times the rate of women. On average, five men commit suicide each day. That is a truly shocking statistic. Accidents, cancer and heart disease account for the majority of male deaths. Men also are less likely to participate and engage in health and social activities.
As we all know, men are not very good at looking after their health. We are usually the last ones to go to the doctor. We need to get the message out that there are many support organisations specifically created to assist and advise on men's health issues. For example, many people do not know that prostate cancer affects more men than breast cancer affects women.

Each year in Australia close to 3,300 men die of prostate cancer which, as I mentioned, exceeds the number of women who die from breast cancer annually. Around 20,000 new cases are diagnosed in Australia every year. Each day about 32 men learn that they have prostate cancer. Tragically, one man every three hours will lose his battle against this insidious disease. One out of nine men in Australia will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men. The important message is that prostate cancer and many other diseases can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. This is just another example of why men need to take the time to care for their health.

The Men on Fire event recognises Men's Health Week and highlights the issues that men experience, both with health and in the community. It is about getting together, having a health check, finding out about some of the services men can access, and about raising more funds for the completion of the Wyong Men's Shed. I was pleased to secure $10,975 from the State Government to establish the new Wyong Men's Shed. I also believe so strongly in this organisation that I made a $1,000 personal donation to assist in the completion of the building. The Wyong Men's Shed will be a place for blokes to hang out with other blokes, use existing skills or learn some new ones, socialise and access a range of health information. The shed is scheduled for completion shortly and will be a valuable addition to the network of Men's Sheds already established around the Central Coast.

I congratulate the Wyong Neighbourhood Centre manager, Ms Jodi Morgan, and her hardworking team on bringing together so many people and local organisations to ensure their Men on Fire event was a great success. These included Medicare local, Australian Hearing, Carevan, Men's Sheds, Historic Marine Corps, Mingaletta Dance Group and even the Central Coast Ukulele Club. A feature of the event was a men's pit stop, which simulated a vehicle repair process in sections but checked men's health instead. Each check was evaluated and a coloured sticker was placed on a checklist. I am happy to say that I received green stickers for all but one pit stop—I earned a yellow sticker for my waistline measurement. In my defence, I was on the cusp of receiving a green sticker and had just enjoyed a sausage sandwich. It was a most enjoyable day and a barbeque was provided. I believe most people came away better informed about men's health issues and the services that are available. I take this opportunity to congratulate my close friend and valued colleague the member for The Entrance and his beautiful wife, Vienna, who today welcomed their first child, Taylor Nichole Spence, at 12.16 p.m. Mother and baby are doing well.
Office of Darren Webber
Member for Wyong
NSW Parliament
4/142 Pacific Highway
(PO Box 836)
P: 02 4352 2711
F: 02 4352 2766

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