Image of one of the "blue men" near the Blue Bridge.

West Michigan Leaders Form Prostate Health Alliance; Raise Awareness with ArtPrize Exhibit

Have you seen the “blue men” in downtown Grand Rapids?

The most noticeable is a seven-foot tall steel structure of a man painted blue near the iconic Blue Bridge. Look up and you’ll also spot 11 steel blue men scattered around on downtown rooftops, including on the top of Blue Cross’ downtown location. The sculptures might look like just another ArtPrize exhibit, which they are, but they’re also meant to increase awareness about prostate cancer and to inspire men to get tested.

Image of one of the "blue men" with Blue Cross' downtown Grand Rapids location in the background. The newly-formed West Michigan Prostate Health Alliance (WMPHA) partnered with Detroit-based artist John Sauvé on the ArtPrize entry, called “The Man in The City, A Conversation of Numbers.”

“Our goal with the ‘blue men’ is to start a conversation about a topic that men are often reluctant to talk about,” said Paul Boyer, Meijer Vice Chairman Emeritus. “We hope men will know their numbers, as it relates to prostate health and will learn that early detection and treatment can save lives.”

Prostate cancer will affect one in seven men during their lifetime, yet many men don’t talk about it or know that early detection greatly increases the chances of a positive outcome. To help change that trend, WMPHA was formed.

Through their collective journeys, the group’s members, which includes Jeff Connolly, senior vice president, Health Plan Business and president, West Michigan & Upper Peninsula, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, recognized the critical need for additional prostate health education among West Michigan men and their families. This education includes the importance of regular, periodic screening, treatment options that are available and the many support resources available to families.

“Our goal is to help men and their families address prostate health head on and to not be afraid of it,” said Bill Payne, WMPHA member and Amway Vice Chairman. “I know firsthand, that with early detection and by working with your health professional to make informed decisions, you can make a complete recovery.”

The WMPHA has created a website (www.westmichpha.org) that offers a series of resources for men. Those resources include the ability to connect with a mentor who is a prostate cancer survivor and links to cancer support organizations.

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Photos courtesy of SeyferthPR

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