Men around the community may be seen sporting some upper lip fuzz or an unshaven face – it may be a fashion statement, perhaps laziness or it is men looking out for each other.
Members of the 100 Mile Fire Rescue team will be giving their razor a break for the month of November, to raise awareness and raise money for men’s health. According to local firefighter Brad Elias, this will be the department’s second year participating in the global fundraiser.
“The department is always looking to support a cause and this was another one to try,” said Elias. “I believe the hall tried this before in the past but never followed through, so I volunteered to take it on, start the page and begin the fundraising.”
The local department has a page on the Movember website, where the funds can be tracked. Last year, the team raised approximately $1,600 towards men’s health. This year, the team has a target goal of $800 which can be viewed here.
According to the website, members Jon Lavigne, fire chief Roger Hollander, Charles Bowett of the fire and rescue team have created separate pages for the foundation.
“We are looking at ways to get the public aware of our fundraising efforts,” said Elias. “This year, I am looking into sponsorships.”
The team made a banner last year which may be seen around the community again, throughout the month.
Elias said fire departments from around North America join an even larger group on the Movemeber website, raising money as a collective. According to Elias, roughly $30,000 was raised from fire departments.
“A lot of guys know about Movember, but I don’t think many know exactly what it is about and the message behind it,” said Elias. “I hope as years go on, it just becomes bigger and bigger.”
The Movember Foundation aims to tackle prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention amongst all men. According to the foundation, across Canada, more than 170,000 men are living with or beyond prostate cancer. Movember is looking at men’s mental health through the lens of males – focusing on prevention, early intervention and health promotion.
“For me, I have never seen someone affected by this first hand, but the more I learn, I understand how many men are affected by it,” said Elias. “The more I learn, the more I am going to promote it.”
Elias said men’s health is sometimes overlooked.
“Being a guy, I have never really sat down with my friends and just talked to them about my feelings and that is one of the foundation’s messages – talk more, listen more,” said Elias. “It’s good that the local department is raising awareness and fundraising because of mental health, it’s huge in the fire service. The things we see throughout our careers is hard on a lot of people.”
The department has currently raised more than $500 towards men’s health.