Dr. Michael Lutz
Dr. Michael Lutz

Dr. Michael Lutz is urging people to participate in upcoming virtual events that will benefit the Men’s Health Event scheduled for September at Ford Field

News of COVID-19 has dominated headlines for months. But that doesn’t mean the need to address other health issues has simply fallen away.

Michael Lutz, M.D., president of the MIU Men’s Health Foundation, says that the importance of men’s health and prostate cancer awareness is as important, if not more, considering the present health crisis and that more men are succumbing to COVID-19.

“With what has happened in our community as well as the country and around the world, there’s been a significant amount of men who have been unemployed and are uninsured,” he said. “We know that about 80,000 cases of cancer will go undetected this year,” not to mention the 22,600 diagnoses of prostate cancer that will be missed or delayed in 2020, Lutz said, citing American Cancer Society statistics.

“We know that our men’s health screening event will be able to offer many of those health screening tests,” he said about the Men’s Health Event scheduled from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The event is free and in the past has provided health screenings to between 1,000 and 2,000 men. Services include immunizations, flu shots, BMI testing, mental health screenings, and PSA tests to detect prostate cancer. Additionally, the event will offer educational and job assistance opportunities.

The success of the fall event, however, is contingent partly upon MIU Men’s Health Foundation fundraisers, which take place this month, coinciding with International Men’s Health Week June 15-21. Those events include the Cogs & Kegs Virtual Cycling Challenge, which runs throughout the month of June, and the foundation’s major fundraiser Run for the Ribbon 5K. Both events have gone virtual due to the pandemic.

Lutz is concerned that participation for the Run for the Ribbon, typically held on Father’s Day each year, is way down this year. The run usually attracts approximately 2,000 participants and raises between $100,000 to $150,000 each year, 95 percent of which is funneled back to the community in the form of health services.

He is urging people to participate in the virtual events. Participants of Cogs & Kegs will pay an initial $20 registration fee, which provides the necessary funds for one man to receive crucial health screenings at the Men’s Health Event in September. This also commits them to 20 miles of physical cycling in a location of their choice and automatically enters them into a virtual challenge. Each additional 20 miles and $20 donation increases their boasting rights on the public leader board and provides funding for another man to receive life-saving health screenings.

“This year, more than other years, men’s health matters,” Lutz said. “Without (the event) taking a leadership role, many of these men wouldn’t have the opportunity to take care of their health. We want to make them aware, involved and engaged in health care opportunities they might not otherwise have.” To register for the cycling event, visit www.cogsandkegs.org.

To participate in the 5K Run for the Ribbon virtual event, runners and walkers should visit miurunfortheribbon.org to register and contribute a $30 registration fee. Each participant will receive a virtual packet containing graphics for a race bib, an “In Celebration Of” sign to display at home, with a printed medal.

One more way to support men’s health

Community members are encouraged to wear blue on Monday, June 15 in support of the MIU Men’s Health Foundation’s “Blue Monday” initiative, which helps kick off International Men’s Health Week June 15-21. Typically held outdoors, this year’s event is an entirely virtual call to action. Wearing blue symbolizes the community’s support for men’s health. Men are encouraged to participate in healthful, safe activities and/or donate to their favorite men’s health charity. Participants can also show their support on social media, using the hashtag #BlueMonday2020. For more information, visit www.BlueMondayMensHealth.org.

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