By Noah Gecelovsky
This November, men are joining the fight against cancer and men’s mental health by growing out their facial hair and giving donations to the Movember Foundation and local cancer centres.
Movember started in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 with only 30 men, and since then has spread around the world. The movement made its way to North America in 2004 and Shaun Dunn, an accounting teacher at Essex District High School, embraced the idea shortly after.
“The kids understand the value of giving back to the community,” said Dunn. “It’s only as good as they make it.”
He was introduced to the Movember Foundation by his daughter’s hockey coach. After doing some research, he got his business leadership class involved with the Movember Foundation and was able to incorporate the rest of the school.
“It was a camaraderie builder for the teachers,” said Dunn. “The male teachers would receive pledges from the students to grow their facial hair and some of the senior students tried to participate too. It was kind of funny to see the facial hair.”
Essex District High School has been taking part in Movember for about 10 years and in 2011 the school raised their highest donation amount of approximately $2,000 for the foundation.
While some people like Dunn came across the idea and saw it as a community builder for a good cause, other people get involved with the foundation after they are personally affected by cancer.
Tyler Alexander is part of the Grow On campaign that encourages people to donate to the Windsor Cancer Centre to support cancer patients and their treatment.
Two years ago Alexander’s father was diagnosed with stage one prostate cancer. Once his father told the family about his diagnosis, he felt moved to participate in the campaign.
“Some of the treatments that this program is focused on bringing to Windsor are the same treatments that my dad went out of town to receive,” said Alexander. “It is disappointing to me that Windsor patients have to go out of town to receive treatment.”
According to the Windsor Cancer Centre’s website, in 2015 the Grow On campaign raised almost $220,000 to buy new tools and equipment so patients like Alexander’s father do not have to leave Windsor for treatment. Alexander has set a personal goal of $1,500 in donations and has so far raised $245.
“I’m not sure if $1,500 was realistic but it’s good to have goals,” said Alexander.
According to Canadian Cancer Society, 21,600 men in Canada are diagnosed with prostate in 2016 and 4,000 men will die as a result. Canadian Cancer Society also says that 1,100 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2016 and 40 of those men will die due to cancer.
Since 2003, the Movember Foundation has raised approximately $759 million around the world and has grown to more than five million participants. They are encouraging more people to join and donate at movember.com.