As we start off May, Appreciation Month here at 15-40 Connection, we are thankful for an inspiring young man that is making a huge impact as an early cancer detection advocate.

Asa Floyd is a sophomore student-athlete and testicular cancer survivor at Worcester Academy. Back in October 2017, 15-40 Connection delivered a full-school presentation at Worcester Academy on our 3 Steps Detect, along with a cancer survivor panel with our friends Maura and Kerri.

In December, Asa had what he thought was a lingering football injury, but he remembered the 2-week rule he had learned a couple months prior and decided to get it checked out by his doctor. Asa had testicular cancer, but he caught it early and only needed surgery and not chemotherapy or radiation.

“That presentation at the beginning of the (school) year really stuck with me throughout this whole process and it really helped me,” Asa said. “I know one of the 15-40’s big mottos is the two-week exam – if it’s still there two weeks later then go get it checked out at the doctor’s.” 

Asa Floyd is making an impact

After using 3 Steps Detect himself, Asa, the catcher on the school’s baseball team, wanted other people to be able to receive the same education he did. He decided to organize a benefit game called “Catching Cancer” that raised awareness and funding for 15-40 Connection’s early cancer detection education programs.

The event, which took place during a doubleheader against Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday, April 14, was a resounding success, drawing over 100 spectators from the Worcester Academy community and from Asa’s hometown of Holden, Mass. In addition, “Catching Cancer” raised over $6,500 that will all go toward teaching even more people how to identify and act on the early warning signs of cancer.

“It was really humbling just to see everyone come together and show their support, donating stuff, just coming with their presence,” Asa told us. “It kind of just shows the community we have at Worcester Academy and how it can come together. It was a really good turnout and we had a lot of fun.”

A special day of early detection awareness

The day’s events included speeches by Asa, Worcester Academy athletic director Ed Reilly and baseball coach Jim McNamara, and a ceremonial first pitch for anyone closely affected by cancer.

“We knew (Asa) was a winner the way he carries himself on and off the field and around campus,” McNamara said. “Then this happened and the leadership he’s shown is really remarkable. There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t impress us and (the “Catching Cancer” event) is just another example.”

15-40 Connection’s education and outreach team also attended, setting up a table to distribute literature and talk to people about the ways they can help spread the word about 3 Steps Detect.

“He’s a special kid in every sense,” Reilly said about Asa. “What we’re hoping is that people will connect with the 15-40 Connection so that other kids, families and schools can benefit the way he did. The statistics bear out that if there is early detection of cancer your rate of survival is so much higher.”

Asa also wants to raise awareness about the importance of doing regular testicular self-exams, as testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in adolescent and young adult men.

“People don’t really talk about (testicular self-exams) a lot, so that’s why I’m kind of being so open about it,” Asa said. “I just want it to be out there because it may be uncomfortable for some people, but people need to get the idea of how to do it.”

Read more about Asa and the “Catching Cancer” fundraiser in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, This Week in Worcester and The Landmark.

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