Wee Jasper memorial fireworks and bonfire to raise money and awareness of testicular cancer

Hugh Waters wants young men in the Yass Valley, and the women in their lives, to be talking about their ‘bits’.

The Yass local was only 22 years old when his beloved brother Duncan was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

One Tuesday, Duncan, who was a few years younger than Hugh, took himself to see a doctor because he had noticed an unusually large testicle. 

By the Thursday, he underwent surgery, and started chemotherapy on the Saturday.

But 16 months later, just before his 21st birthday, Duncan succumbed to the insidious disease.

Prior to that, Hugh had not given much thought to the need to be self-aware about the risks of the second-most common cancer in men aged 18 to 39 years.

If caught early, the five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with testicular cancer is close to 98 per cent.

It’s Duncan’s legacy that his friends and family speak out about testicular cancer and do all they can to raise awareness of the risks and early signs.

On Saturday, May 20, a fireworks and bonfire will be held at Billy Grace Reserve in Wee Jasper in honour of Duncan and to raise much-needed funds for the Yass Hospital and Red Kite.

“Boys don’t talk about their testicles,” Hugh said.

“We hope that people come out to Wee Jasper and enjoy the event and support these worthy causes.

“But most of all, we hope we can get people talking and asking questions.

“We want girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers and aunts to be asking the young men in their lives in the car on the way out to the fireworks ‘do you check?’ and ‘do you know what to check for?’

“The same as we hope women are asking each other about their breasts. 

“That’s Duncan’s legacy.”

In 2016, its inaugural year, the fireworks show raised nearly $6000 for Can Assist and the Cancer Council.

The Waters family hopes this year’s event will be even bigger and better. 

The festivities begin at 2pm with entertainment and amusements, including bucking bulls, sumo wrestlers and human darts, and food, drink and market stalls.

ACT Fireworks (of Skyfire fame) will be at the helm of the spectacular night light display, which will begin when dark.

Entry is $5 per person and camping spots are available at an extra cost. A bus to and from Yass will also be provided with limited spots. Ensure to take cash as there are no ATMs at Wee Jasper.

“We are hoping for something pretty spectacular and we hope everyone comes out and gets on board,” Hugh said.

“We’ve had a lot of businesses around town support the event and you can donate even if you can’t make it on the night.

“Red Kite was very supportive of our family while Duncan was receiving treatment.

“The Yass Hospital went above and beyond with their support as he deteriorated so that we could look after him at home. 

“So they are two causes close to our hearts.”

For more information, search for ‘Duncan's Legacy Fireworks 2017’ on Facebook.