Two years ago, on a sunny Sunday in June, I met Ervine and Noah Kimerling, an incredibly pleasant and caring couple. Little did I know at the time, but that meeting would change the trajectory of WOLACO forever.
To set the scene...
It was my first summer removed from our successful Kickstarter campaign and the company was starting to make some strides.
It was an exciting time, yet an overwhelming one, too. We were running on pure adrenaline and just trying to be as scrappy as possible.
One day, we decided to buy a tent, a manakin, a table, and everything else we’d need to start vending at events. A week later, we attended our first one -- Running of the Balls, a 5k & 10k race to benefit the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation.
Given the intimate nature of our men’s compression apparel, I figured a race to support the health of young men and their “crown jewels” would be a great fit. Not to mention, it was right in our backyard on Roosevelt Island, making it possible for our whole team to attend. Mom and dad even joined in to lend a hand.
Fast-forward to the race…
Getting our first taste of selling in that type of a setting was big. Real hand-to-hand combat, ya know? Standing behind a table (pictured above), trying to convince passersby to give you money… you end up learning a lot about your own products.
So yeah, our first vending experience was awesome. It brought the whole team together.
But then something even more impactful happened...
Ervine and Noah Kimerling started speaking.
They talked about their son, Sean (for whom the foundation is named), who tragically died of testicular cancer at the age of 37. He’d been a sports broadcaster for PIX11 in New York. He was healthy. He was happy. And this disease came out of nowhere and took his life.
I still remember exactly how I felt standing there that day, while the Kimerling’s spoke about Sean. It was a mixture of two emotions: fear and responsibility.
On one hand, hearing Sean’s story scared the sh*t out of me. An estimated 8,850 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year… you’re most at-risk in your early-30s… early detection is critical. I hadn’t know any of this, and I was a 25-year-old male at the time. It hit extremely close to home.
On the other hand, I remember looking around at my team, my parents, and our booth full of WOLACO products and feeling like this was something we could really have an impact on. Scratch that -- this was something we needed to have an impact on.
“You started this company to inspire people to lead healthy lifestyles,” I remember saying to myself. “This is why WOLACO exists -- to be a voice for young guys everywhere. Raise awareness. Educate guys on what to look for. Take this and run with it.”
So we did...
Last year, we launched our own event called Feelin’ Nuts, a 5k run through Manhattan to benefit the Sean Kimerling Foundation.
Round Two is happening on Thursday, June 29th (wanna come?), and we couldn't be more excited to get the team back together to run up the West Side Highway in honor of Sean.
And by the way, this is just the beginning for us. Raising awareness for testicular cancer is our cause now. We're committed to it. And it's something that our team will continue to make a priority as we grow. RIP, Sean.
Feelin’ Nuts is happening on Thursday, June 29th at 6:30pm. Wanna come? RSVP here.
- Visit the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation’s website to learn more about symptoms and how to give yourself a self-exam.
- Running of the Balls takes place on June 18th (Father's Day), so if you're in the area and don't have plans yet, it could be an awesome day with pops. Sign up here.