BY JESSICA LANTHIER
In mid-October, Tim and Darren Milani, Kyle Riley, Matt Giilk, Braeden Price and Rob Danieli created The Stachetastic Voyage, a Movember fundraiser to spread awareness and raise money for prostate cancer research.
The six inspiring men organized an event at Edelweiss Tavern on Nov. 17 in Kitchener to gather friends, family and residents of the tri-city area for live music from Jo Panic, raffles, prizes and fun.
Many Kitchener-Waterloo businesses donated the raffle prizes, which included a 16G iPod Touch, gift baskets, headphones, a photo shoot certificate, restaurant gift cards, two DVD players and a wine chiller.
For one week, TD Bank hosted a book drive and donated the proceeds to The Stachetastic Voyage and a local café sold moustache cookies to fundraise for the team as well.
With a $10,000 goal, the group had raised approximately $2,400 prior to the event and made an impressive $3,000 at the moustache bash.
Danieli, who is an employee at Toyota, was originally growing a moustache to earn $100 from a friend at work, but after talking to the other members of the team, they all decided to try for the big bucks.
“At the beginning of the month I was thinking we could maybe just get $500 in donations and that would be nice, but we managed to pull in way more than that,” he said.
Price, who is a second-year criminal justice student at Conestoga College, said he always donated money to the cause, but knew he wanted to do something bigger and better this year.
“We originally thought we just wanted to raise $1,000, but we had that amount before November even started.”
“We decided to make it a big party and really make a splash,” he said.
Although none of the members of the team have been personally affected by prostate cancer, they were all on board with creating a fundraiser right away.
Darren Milani, a journeyman for Innovative Interiors in Waterloo and the captain of the team, said the guys thought Movember was just a month to grow a funny moustache and donate money to cancer research. However, after they researched the reason behind Movember, they learned just how many men and families are affected by prostate cancer and how deadly it really is. It was then that they knew it was something worth fighting for.
“We want to reproduce and women want to have babies but prostate cancer can potentially prevent one in six men from doing so,” Milani said.
According to Milani, the hardest part of organizing the event was attracting guests and supporters.
“You would think with all the social networking, cellphones and media it would be easy to get friends and family to a charity event with a live band, DJ and prizes,” he said.
“Not the case.”
He thinks with all of the new technology, it’s easier to avoid things because of the lack of face-to-face interaction. But even though it was a challenge, the guys are all on board to do it again next year. Danieli thinks the experience was rewarding and gives them a feeling of self-worth.
“I can definitely see it being an annual thing,” he said.
“It was a great learning experience and next year will be bigger and better,” Milani said.
Although the guys are more than happy to raise money for cancer research, a big part of Movember is actually growing a moustache and some of them don’t particularly care for it.
“Personally, it drives me crazy,” Price said.
Danieli isn’t a fan of having the extra hair, but knows it’s for a great cause.
“Doing it for one month of the year isn’t a big deal,” he said.
As for Milani, he can thank his Italian heritage for making growing a moustache easy.
“It comes easy for me fortunately,” he said.
“But I don’t think I’m suited for it. Dec. 1 will come and when it does, I’m shaving!”