By Barrett White
We can almost guarantee that you’ve never dropped your pants for such a worthy cause.
Who knows why we have such taboo feelings about the many “below the belt” cancers. Perhaps because we just started talking publicly about any cancer in the last few decades, or maybe it’s simply the nature of where on the body these cancers lie. In any case, celebrated Houston interior designer Kelly Amen’s organization, Cancer Below the Belt, is on a crusade to end the stigma associated with the 12 cancers one can develop in that region.
Though Cancer Below the Belt is still very much in a grassroots stage, that has not deterred Amen from forging ahead with high-profile organizing and fundraising. Initial events at Char Bar and Ken Kehoe Interiors have featured photos of attendees posing with their pants dropped to the ankles—along with the rather cheeky hashtag #GetCaughtWithYourPantsDown.
Amen is not just a tireless servant for the cause, but also a survivor of prostate cancer. Cancer-free since 1993, Amen now works with sex counselor Meryl Cohen, nutrition coach Liz Gober, and fitness coach Sylvia Pennywell to promote awareness of testicular, ovarian, anal, cervical, and pancreatic cancer, to name a few of the 12 dangerous cancers that people of all genders are susceptible to.
“Test. Cancer kills more men under 25 than any other disease, but no one checks or talks about it,” Amen says about the purpose of his awareness campaign.
Coming up this month, Cancer Below the Belt will be present at the Galleria storefront of longtime LGBTQ ally Mezlan. The high-end shoe boutique will host the organization twice, September 22 and 25, for two evenings of lighthearted fun, valuable raffle-prize giveaways, and above all else, awareness. Original tapestry works by Amjid Gulzar, ornate rugs by AER Textiles, and fine art by Corey Scott will all be on display.
Throughout the night, one may purchase tickets to the raffle ($10 for one or $50 for 10) for prizes ranging from meticulously crafted pillows to upscale shoes from the host store.
Arriving at the event also promises to be entertaining, as ticket prices are $100 per person or $50 if you drop your drawers. The raffle giveaways will be held at both events, and a percentage of ticket and raffle sales will go to Cancer Below the Belt.
To the public at large, Kelly Amen urges, “Get tested. Look at the symptoms. Eat healthier, live healthier. Know the signs. Join us—drop your pants for the cause. Think about making a difference.”
What: Cancer Below the Belt charity fundraiser
Where: Mezlan (in the Houston Galleria), 5015 Westheimer, Suite 2302
When: September 22, 6–8 p.m., and September 25, 4–6 p.m.
Details: $100 per entry or $50 if you participate in the pants-dropping fun.
More info: cancerbelowthebelt.com and mezlan.com
Barrett White is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.