Brothers drop off pants for prostate cancer


How the Izen brothers use humour to address a grim prospect.

By Ted Alcuitas

(Full disclosure : Jon Izen is my son-in-law.)

They were raised in a ‘funny way’ with a dad who can never stop clowning since they were big enough to laugh and giggle at his antics.

Michael calls it “in your face humour”.

Now 49, Michael is counting the days remaining in his life.

Four years ago, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostate cancer and last year, he was told the cancer has spread to his liver.

Faced with the grim reality of his illness, Michael harnessed his writing skill and teamed up with his accomplished artist younger brother Jon, to come up with a book to help others cope with the disease, using ‘in your face humour’.

“In your face humour is how we were raised. We may not be able to cure cancer with a bunch of bad jokes, but we think we can mock the hell out of it, ” says Michael.

Though not exactly stoic about it, he used whatever remaining time he had left to put his thoughts on paper and came up with the idea of a book – appropriately called Finger Up the Bum.

Jon came up with his funny drawings and even dad Roy (a retired architect and no mean artist himself) pitched in with his own drawings.

What started as a simple thought soon became a family affair with wife Gina helping in structuring the book and step-daughter Chloe Woolsey taking care of fundraising through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter (kickstarter.com/profile/fingerupthebum).

They’re racing against time (The fundraiser ends up in June) but the main work is practically done with just a few minor details.

With just 8 days to go the appeal has raised $23,418 with a $25,000 goal.

Finger Up the Bum is a hilarious poke (pardon the pun) at the reluctance and embarrassment most men face at the prospect of having someone invade their privacy even if it’s their own doctor.

“I want to share my story as we think it can help others with their own journeys, and to make people laugh at something that’s quite painful.

I have found that so many guys have a hard time talking about things like this, whether its cancer or an illness in general. It can be awkward, embarrassing, and even a little emasculating. “

Finger Up The Bum will help you, and the ones you love, find ways to laugh in the face of cancer, with ridiculous anecdotes and hilarious illustrations. I might be sick, but it doesn’t mean I can’t make fun of this stupid disease. This book is for anyone going through hard times with or without cancer. F*$k it! We gotta laugh! “