Handlebar, horseshoe, pencil, or Fu Manchu.
Regardless of what style of moustache they choose to grow, a number of local men will be raising funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, during the month of “Movember.”
The idea is for men to start November with a clean-shaven face, then for the next 30 days grow their moustaches to become walking billboards prompting conversation around the often-ignored issue of men’s health.
Charles Fisher, who is heading a team at the local Customs port of entry, is participating for the second year.
“There are a lot of fundraisers for breast cancer and others that are big health problems,” he noted. “But other than ‘Movember,’ there is nothing that raises money specifically for men’s health and prostate cancer.”
Fisher said there wasn’t a lot of local participation last year, so he didn’t raise a lot of money, but he was able to introduce the idea to people and get a conversation started about men’s health.
In fact, he was able to cobble together a team of 13 members this year, which already had raised more than $500 even before the month started.
“It was really well-received. It’s something fun and a little different,” Fisher enthused, noting he grew a full handlebar moustache last year.
This time around, Fisher has decided to stick with just a regular “duster” moustache.
“It’s a great way to introduce the topic,” he said about growing “Movember” moustaches.
“I think it’s a good cause,” echoed Luke Skaarup, who is taking part with a team of Union Gas employees in the region.
“We’re trying to raise a bit of money, but I think a lot of it is around awareness,” he remarked.
“Breast cancer, they’ve done a really good job with awareness, but prostate cancer, maybe not so good.”
Skaarup, who is known as the local “Strongman,” has been aware of the “Movember” campaign for the past two years but this is the first time he’s participated.
“To be honest, I can’t grow a lot of facial hair, so it’s an excuse to have a bad moustache—see how it looks,” he laughed.
Meanwhile, Lute Calder, 37, is participating in “Movember” as a member of Fisher’s team.
“When I was first asked to join a ‘Movember’ team, I did my research and decided not only was it an amazing opportunity to create awareness but a fun way to do it,” he said, adding both his parents, Mike and Delia Calder, were affected by different types of cancer.
“This is my second year raising money on a team and I plan on doing it as long as I can,” noted Calder.
He felt he’ll have no problem growing the moustache, adding the “biggest challenge will be dyeing the grey hairs out.”
When asked about possible styles for his ’stache, Calder joked: “I really want to grow a Snidely Whiplash, but we’ll see.”
“Fortunately, the ‘Movember’ website has a lot of creative ideas for moustache-growing.”
Calder’s brother, Hank, also is stepping up to the challenge.
“Well, the main reason I am participating in ‘Movember’ is the same reason I would wear pink laces in my work boots or a yellow wristband,” he explained.
“It is a small thing one can do who has been touched by cancer, to bring attention to the need to get health checks [men and women] as well as raising money to help others get those cheques,” added Calder.
“Small act, large return.”
Calder, also 37, noted he had a moustache for a few years at the end of high school, although he never really looked after it.
This time around, he has plans to style it but hasn’t decided on exactly what type of moustache to have.
“Perhaps just going old school and growing the awesome ’stache I used to buy beer with,” he chuckled.
Times’ reporter Duane Hicks also has chosen to participate in “Movember” this year.
“I decided to do it because it’s a good cause,” he reasoned, citing it’s a little unusual because it’s specifically focused on men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer.
“It’s also uncommon to have a fundraiser or awareness campaign which relies on participants growing something—in this case facial hair—instead of running, walking, biking, or, something which I suppose is the opposite of ‘Movember,’ shaving their head.”
Hicks, who shaves daily, doesn’t have much experience growing facial hair.
“Hopefully, the moustache grows in all right,” he remarked. “I am a little concerned about the scruffiness during the early stages—I might look like Snoopy’s brother, Spike, from the Peanuts comic strip.
“But if it grows in well, and looks good, who knows? Maybe, I’ll keep it after ‘Movember,’” he added.
“Maybe I’ll expand it into a beard?”
Boston Pizza here also is supporting the “Movember” challenge and plans to host a party at month’s end, compete with prizes for the best moustache, the worst moustache, and the most money raised.
“People can come to the restaurant and get their picture taken, so we’ll do a before and after photo,” explained owner Dale Fortes.
He noted with last year being their first year open in the community, they were too busy to organize a “Movember” event last year. But they are looking forward to it this year.
“We do a lot of work with breast cancer fundraising, but prostate cancer awareness is also one of our priorities to fundraise, as well,” he said, citing Boston Pizza corporately also challenged all locations to do something for “Movember.”
And Fortes personally challenges any business owners or community members to grow a better moustache than himself.
“We just want to get as many people involved as possible,” he stressed.
Participants of “Movember,” known as “Mo Bros,” have registered online at ca.movember.com, where people can donate to the cause.
They also can be supported by the women in their lives, “Mo Sistas,” as they raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.
The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by “Movember” and its men’s health partner, Prostate Cancer Canada.
Together, the two organizations work together to ensure that “Movember” funds are supporting a broad range of programs that coincide with their strategic goals of awareness and education, survivorship, and research.
“Movember” continues to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, and getting them to act on that knowledge, thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment.
In 2010, nearly 119,000 Canadian “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas” got on board, raising $22.3 million.
For more information, visit ca.movember.com