Q&A: Comedian Ennis Esmer gets serious about testicular cancer

When actor and comedian Ennis Esmer, 32, was asked to host The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association’s MANsake Ball on January


When actor and comedian Ennis Esmer, 32, was asked to host The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association’s MANsake Ball on January 31 in Toronto, he jumped at the chance to represent the cause of testicular cancer. We chatted with  the star of The Listener (CTV) and host of Wipeout Canada (premiering in early 2011 on TVTropolis) about why it’s important to him to spread the word about this disease’especially among younger men.

Best Health: What is the Mansake Ball and how did you come to be the host of the event?

Ennis Esmer: The MANsake Ball is an event run by The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association (TCTCA) that marks the end of of MANuary, a month-long initiative to educate people and raise awareness about testicular cancer. We’ve got a lot of great performers lined up and it’s going to be a big party, so I encourage everyone to come support the cause and have a blast.

BH: Why is testicular cancer an important cause for you to represent?

EE: It struck me how early in life the disease can affect men’s lives and how randomly it can strike. It seems to be the sort of thing that people think could never happen to them, but it’s the most prevalent cancer in males age 15 to 29 . It’s also quite simple to self-examine and every guy out there should be doing it. It struck a nerve when TCTCA national spokesperson Peter Laneas told me about his experiences with testicular cancer because he was a young man in good shape who was still struck with this disease. Yet he’s made a full recovery and is now thriving. That’s why I thought it was important to get involved and help spread the word about testicular cancer.

BH: Tell us a bit about TCTCA. What attracted you to this organization?

EE: The TCTCA was founded by Cheryl Perry, whose son Adam was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2003 at only 18 years old. Sadly, he passed away before being able to realize his goals of spreading awareness of the disease to people his age, bringing a widely unknown form of cancer into the public eye and breaking down any stigma surrounding the potentially embarassing disease. Today, TCTCA aims to educate men of all ages about the reality of testicular cancer and spreads awareness about steps you can take to stay healthy and, if you have the disease, detect it early. My interest in the organization comes from knowing that testicular cancer could strike any one of my friends or me and there’s basically nothing we can do to prevent it, aside from awareness, self-examination and early detection.

BH: Are you involved with any other charities?

EE: I recently attended an event for Big Brothers & Big Sisters Toronto and am looking forward to becoming a big brother as soon as season two of The Listener wraps up in March. Then I’ll  have time to make good on my intentions.

BH: And now for a personal question: As an actor and TV host, your schedule must get pretty jam-packed when you’re shooting. How do you stay fit and healthy during those busy times?

EE: Honestly, it’s a challenge at all times, as I am naturally quite a lazy person when I’m not working. As well, I sprained my ankle and tore my meniscus in my knee, which kind of yanked the rug out from under me as far as fitness goes. All my knee issues have limited my rotation and my ability to jump or run, so I can no longer play the sports I enjoy such as baseball, basketball or dodgeball, unfortunately. Sports have always been the best way to trick myself into exercising. If I’m playing a game, I’m focussing on winning and not on being tired or bored. So since then, I’ve tried to concentrate on swimming, core work and weight training. But I will be the first to admit it’s been hard to motivate myself while shooting season two of The Listener and the first season of Wipeout Canada. I just need a couple weeks after we wrap where I can build up some workout momentum with my trainer, Stu Vickers, and I’ll be good to go for the spring. Also, I might have to get knee surgery, so the sooner that happens, the better.

Photo: Ben Mark Holzberg

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