After losing family members to cancer and inquiring about local mental health services, David Bitonti decided to organize Movember Night at the Nanaimo Bar on Nov. 14. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

After losing family members to cancer and inquiring about local mental health services, David Bitonti decided to organize Movember Night at the Nanaimo Bar on Nov. 14. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Music, comedy and moustaches will take centre stage at Movember Night in Nanaimo

Fundraiser event will be held Nov. 14 at Nanaimo Bar

The Movember movement has rolled around again and will feature a physically distanced fundraiser this month.

Nanaimo’s David Bitonti is organizing Movember Night at the Nanaimo Bar on Nov. 14.

The Movember movement seeks to raise awareness of men’s issues, including cancers and mental health. Bitonti said losing close family members to cancer and mental health service availability in the area are what inspired him.

“I’ve had some underlying issues for years that I haven’t really dealt with and I wasn’t in a crisis or anything, but I wanted to get to the bottom of some things and deal with some past traumas and all that,” said Bitonti. “I felt like, really, even through my own doctor with a referral, I couldn’t even see a psychiatrist. The options for free counselling are very limited if you work the same hours as they’re open …If you’re trying to be proactive about your mental health, it’s either expensive or not available. I think unless you’re in a major crisis, there’s not really much there for you locally, so that was a big motivator.”

Being a musician, Bitonti initially planned to perform the fundraiser himself, but had some friends who volunteered their time.

“We’re going to have Peter Hudson, who’s kind of like the king of comedy in Nanaimo,” said Bitonti. “He’s going to be MC for the whole night and do a set and another really good local comic, Matt Billion is going to start the night … then we’re going to have three singer-songwriters (Carl Schleppe, Brennan Rodney and Brandon Stone) do a short solo acoustic set each.”

READ ALSO: NDP makes campaign promise for Nanaimo cancer centre

There will be a 40-person capacity at the venue and while tickets are $20, they won’t be sold as singles.

“What we’re doing is we’re selling them in advance, which normally that venue doesn’t do, and we have to sell them in groups of four or six, just to keep it COVID-safe,” said Bitonti. “We don’t want people walking off the street and coming in.”

Money raised goes to Movember Canada, which supports projects related to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention and other men’s health issues.

Movember Night at the Nanaimo Bar is Nov. 14 starting at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes and prizes for the best moustache. For more information, including how to donate, click here. For tickets, call Bitonti at 250-618-7734 or e-mail For more information on Movember events in Nanaimo, go to, click on the Take Part tab, go to Find an Event and search Nanaimo.

According to the Movember website, there is also the Movember Stash Bash high-intensity interval training session at Prime Sport Performance and Therapy at 10 a.m. at 1970 Island Diesel Way on Nov. 28.

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