November — a month of transition. Cooler than fall, but not quite winter, the coats and scarves come out, soups are added to the regular menu, and everything seems a little bit cozier.
It’s also a time when many men sprout that extra hairy coat across their upper lip, all to raise money for prostate cancer research — though sometimes looking more prepubescent boy than Tom Selleck.
November has become the unofficial month of the moustache and time for the Movember fundraiser.
The campaign, which originated in Australia, aims to raise awareness about prostate cancer and men’s health as well as money.
This year, for the first time, Lansdowne Centre has devised its own challenge.
All funds raised by the Richmond Moustache Challenge will go to Richmond Hospital’s urology department.
“I think it’s a fantastic cause,” said Jason Roberts, general manager of real estate management services at Colliers International, Lansdowne Centre’s leasing company.
“It’s something that’s also dear to my heart because my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.”
Lansdowne Centre marketing manager Bronwyn Bailey first brought the idea to Roberts’ attention.
As its mandate, the centre strives to stay involved in the community and the moustache challenge proved one such opportunity.
“Lansdowne Centre is Richmond’s community centre, so we’re always looking at ways to serve this community,” said Bailey.
“And it kind of went hand in hand because we started discussing it around the same time of my father’s diagnosis,” Roberts added.
Bailey and Roberts set out to round up a crew of Richmond personalities to take part in the moustache growing challenge.
Every week, they will update pictures of each participant’s progress on the Lansdowne Centre website (pictures will also be published weekly in the Richmond News).
For a minimum donation of $5, voters can choose their favourite moustache — or gentleman.
“They can use whatever voting criteria they want,” said Bailey with a laugh.
Besides Roberts, the contenders are Jeff Pockett, leasing manager at Lansdowne Centre, the News’ own director of advertising Rob Akimow, Matt Pitcairn, manager of communication and policy at Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Fire Chief John McGowan, Deputy Chief Tim Wilkinson, and Dr. Kenneth Poon and Dr. Daniel Rapoport from the Richmond Hospital’s urology department.
All eight participants were on board without hesitation.
“I signed on because it’s a really good cause,” said Fire Chief McGowan. “Men’s health generally tends to be overlooked in society, so it’s important to bring it back and raise awareness about it.”
Although McGowan said prostate cancer hasn’t plagued his personal family, it has affected members of his work family.
There’s a higher risk within the fire department as firefighters are exposed to combustion and harmful chemicals, according to McGowan.
A first timer in a moustache growing challenge, and despite having had a full ’stache for most his life, McGowan is still wary of his competition.
“Oh, it’ll probably take me the whole month to grow something,” said McGowan.
“I think some of the other men might have an unfair advantage, they can probably grow one within a week.”
To vote for your favourite ’stache, visit lansdowne-centre.com/movember. Voting begins Thursday, Nov. 1.