Faces across the Harbour City are bristling with new moustaches this month as the annual Movember campaign kicks off.
The charity movement has thousands of men across the globe tossing out razors at the start of November to begin a 30-day long effort to grow a ’stache.
The event is all about sporting a mo’ to raise awareness and donations for prostate and testicular cancer research and in Nanaimo, men are taking up the challenge.
That ’50s Barber Shop owner Dave Lawrence was shaving off beards last week as men prepared for the contest and said the event seems to have just “blown up.”
“It seems each year this movement gets bigger and bigger and more people take part in it,” he said. “It’s exciting at the end of the month to see so many guys with these little moustaches … and the money being raised is … staggering.”
The Canadian Movember campaign raised $42.6 million in 2012 thanks to moustachioed men and their supporters.
And while campaigners are eager to raise the bar on donations, they are also enjoying the fun of growing a mo’ for a good cause.
“There is a little bit of an embarrassment to it … and I enjoy that side,” said Adam Hawryluk, president of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo.
It also doesn’t take much to get involved in the fundraiser, he said. “In fact, it’s a lack of action that means you are involved. All you have to do is not shave.”
This is Hawryluk’s fourth year in the contest and he said this time he is aiming to raise $2,500.
Roger Paquette is looking to carry the momentum of his son’s memorial team, which he said raised close to $55,000 last year. In 2011, the community raised $115,000 in memory of his son, Garrett Paquette, helping to propel him into the No. 1 fundraising spot in the world.
Garrett, 30, was killed in an ATV accident shortly after registering for Movember in 2011.
“It was the last thing he did in life and I wanted to continue on with that,” Paquette said.
The Garrett Paquette Memorial Team will be joining the Clippers to fundraise for Movember, and will host cupcake drives and a seafood dinner to drive up donations.
For Nanaimo resident and prostate cancer survivor El Martel the 11th month is also an important time to spread awareness – even if people don’t take part in the official contest.
He has been growing his his hair for the past two years and his moustache for 40. He’ll shave it all off at the end of the month after a 30-day long effort to speak with men and women about the importance of early detection and physical exams.
Martel was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago but because it was caught early, has been able to control and live with it without any side effects.
“I think [Movember] is a serious thing. We are proud to display our manhood by growing a ’stache and we also want to make people aware that prostate cancer can destroy your manhood,” he said.
“For me, it’s basically putting out the message about early detection.”
Martel said he hopes through his campaign he can save lives because he doesn’t believe enough men know the value of physical exams. As part of the effort he will shave off 9.5 inches of hair at the Hammond Bay Coastal Community Credit Union at noon Nov. 30. Donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.