Anaesthetist kilts up for a cause

Michael Ayling is swinging free for cancer.

The anaesthetist at Campbelltown and Bowral Hospitals has pledged to wear a kilt for an entire year to raise money for the Cancer Council’s Do It For Cancer initiative.

The only place he won’t be kilted up is in the operating theatre.

Mr Ayling aims to raise $20,000 for research into testicular cancer.

“It started as a bit of a humorous protest at work, but I quickly realised some good could come of it and decided to do it for charity,” he said.

“I chose testicular cancer as it’s a male disease that not a lot is known about and isn’t widely talked about.

“The kilt is a peculiarly male garment and testicular cancer is a peculiarly male cancer. But kilts also attract attention.

“When people speak to me about my kilt, before long, the next question they ask is ‘what have you got underneath that kilt?”

“My response is ‘well, for one thing, I’ve got your attention’.

“Then I can take the opportunity to talk about the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35.”

Detected early, testicular cancer has a very high cure rate.

But Mr Ayling said to date no large study has shown benefits from routine self-examination.

“This might be because it is literally and figuratively a sensitive area and talking about it is awkward for many,” he said.

“The kilt breaks the ice, having provided a pretext to bring the subject up.”

Mr Ayling, who is not Scottish, said he was just over a quarter of the way to his fundraising goal.

“I am sixth generation Australian, but I do have about a quarter Scottish ancestry when added up from both sides,” he said.  

“When I wear any tartan kilts, they will either be Ferguson or McKinlay, being two of the highland Scottish families in my ancestry.

“People have been extremely generous in their donations to date. I’d love to hit my goal of $20,000 before the year is up.”

Cancer Council NSW community engagement manager, Crystal Huynh said Mr Ayling’s unusual idea was a great fundraising campaign.

“Michael swinging free for cancer is just one of the many ways people are supporting Cancer Council NSW through Do It For Cancer,” she said.

“Do It For Cancer supports people to fundraise any way they like. Simply pick a fundraising idea, register an event and we’ll support you to make your fundraiser a success.

“The money you raise goes towards Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support services across Greater Western Sydney and Australia.”

You can donate to Mr Ayling’s Swing Free initiative at swingfreeforcancer.org.

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