September 28, 2020

BY STEPHANIE LEFEBVRE

As the razors get rusty and the shaving cream gets dusty, men show their support for Movember by growing their facial hair.
K-W Movember kicked off the month of moustaches with their annual event, The Good, the Stache and the Ugly, at Chainsaw in uptown Waterloo on Nov. 1.
The event was full of plaid and cowboy hats, the suggested dress code for the event. Some of the men, or ‘Mo Bros,’ came clean-shaven where others hoped to get a free shave by stylists from Cowboys and Angels, a salon on Princess Street in Waterloo.
Women also supported the cause by getting glittery black moustaches painted on their upper lips. These ‘Mo Sistas’ support their men through their facial hair plight. So much so, that along with a Man of Movember, a Miss Movember is elected each year.
This year’s Miss Movember is Breanne Cram. She is also the co-chair for the Mo Sistas side of K-W Movember.
Cram has been an actively involved member of Movember since it came to Kitchener in 2007, and, as a face painter, offered her expertise to the cause. She said originally the event was a way for her to network and help her face-painting business, Bre Creative, but as of last year, when she was nominated Miss Movember, she has been even more engaged.
Cram also said The Good, the Stache and the Ugly took about a month to plan and though she must attend many events throughout November, she will also be planning the end of the month Movember Ball for Nov. 29, which celebrates the end of the hairy upper lip and costs $20 per person.
Movember was originally started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2004 when 30 men decided to grow a moustache for 30 days to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. Now they are the Movember Foundation charity.
Kitchener-Waterloo joined the movement five years ago, helping Canada raise its largest amount last year – $125.7 million.
Cram’s fellow Mo Bro co-chair, J.R. Waddell, said this year the mayor of Waterloo, Brenda Halloran, has become even more involved.
“She’s running the Mayor’s Movember Movie Morning on Dec. 1,” he said.
At this event, Waddell said there are about six different movies playing from 9 a.m. until noon. Tickets are $10 per person, which includes admission, munchies and door prizes. All proceeds will go to the Movember cause, which now includes mental health as well as prostate cancer research.
Waddell got involved in the initiative three years ago. Originally he had his own little campaign, the second year he was on the committee and this year, he is the co-chair of K-W Movember.
The event at Chainsaw attracted a variety of people, including some directly affected by prostate cancer or a mental health disorder.
Kevin O’Reilly, a vice-principal at Cameron Heights, has been battling general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and panic attacks. Due to the recent addition of mental health research as a recipient of the money raised throughout the month of November, O’Reilly was even more enthusiastic about being involved.
“I decided to do this last year when Clara Hughes was on the Bell Let’s Talk campaign,” he said.
The Let’s Talk campaign invited Canadians to speak openly about mental illness and its impact on people’s day-to-day lives.
Though he’s been involved in Movember as long as it’s been in Kitchener-Waterloo, the addition of mental health made more of an impact, especially after he heard of the two Scotts who spoke at Forest Heights at the end of October.
The Scotts are two muscular men who were diagnosed with cancer. One had testicular cancer while the other had a brain tumor. They were asked to speak to a couple of classes of boys to deliver the message that they need to talk about their health.
“I booked myself off for their presentation,” he said. “You could hear a pin drop in the room. The boys would get it. We need to talk about our feelings.”
Scott Barker, one of the two Scotts, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and warns men that they need to take care of themselves. It’s a good message for the month devoted to prostate cancer as that is what Movember is about.
The Canadian Movember website states that one of the goals of the campaign is to talk.
“We have seen that prostate cancer is an issue that men typically do not speak about. Mental health faces a similar challenge in that regard,” according to the website. “Through Movember and the power of the moustache we hope to reduce stigma, increase awareness, improve treatment and expand the understanding of this cause.”
Barker does not seem like the type to want to talk about his feelings. However, he said he could have saved himself about 15 years of his life, had he talked to a doctor earlier.
“We, as men, think that it takes our masculinity away. We’re the protectors, we help and we do everything that way,” said Barker. “But actually what I learned, going through it, I learned that being open and honest and talking about your feelings and asking for help when you need it actually is infectious.”
Even Conestoga College is involved in the Movember initiative. Through things such as T-shirt sales and tips made at the bar during the Tuesday Nooners, Conestoga Students Inc. hopes to contribute money to the cause as well.
The pre-service firefighter program at Conestoga is getting involved, too.
Doug Richard, a faculty member, has agreed to shave off his moustache of 37 years if his students can raise over $1,000 this month.
The students will be in the hallway in front of the LRC over the noon hour every Thursday this month collecting donations.
For further information regarding Movember in K-W, check out their website at www.movemberkw.com. For the dates of college-related events, check out www.conestogastudents.com.