The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Mount Royal students use fundraiser to help spread prostate cancer awareness

Hilts thumbJamie Parker lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, which led Parker to join the worldwide Movember fundraiser this month that aims to fight against the disease.

This of course meant growing a mustache for the whole month of November.

"Movember for me is quite important actually," says Parker. "My grandfather, he died from prostate cancer and quite a few important people I know and care about have had something to do with prostate cancer in itself."

Movember is now a worldwide movement, most prominent in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. It involves starting the month of November clean-shaven and growing a mustache for the month, all while raising money for the fight against prostate cancer.

Mike Wenzlawe, president of the Mount Royal University Outdoor Adventure Club, and Parker, president of the MRU Recreation Crew for Kids, have joined together, like many others, to raise awareness.

"We have run into so many people who don't even know what Movember is and don't even know why we're growing mustaches," Parker says. "We're spreading the word on Movember and what it's all about."

Wenzlawe adds, "I just think it is important for people to be more aware of men's health and how they can, for one, become more aware about prostate cancer and prevention."

MovemberJamie Parker, a Mount Royal University student who lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, is joining the fight against the disease by growing a mustache for Movember, a worldwide prostate cancer fundraising and awareness movement.
Photo supplied by: Mike Wenzlawe
As of Nov. 27, according to the Movember website, there have been more than 842,000 registrations worldwide, and already more than $73 million has been raised this month.

Both men strongly feel that cancer affects everyone, and that targeting one particular form of the disease is a big step towards abolishing it altogether and would be a huge accomplishment.

Wenzlawe believes "that every one one of us has been touched by cancer in some kind of way" and added that in his eyes, "It kind of all goes to that same cause to abolish something so terrible in our lives."

Due to the fact that both men are very active and live healthy lifestyles, they say they are not worried about developing prostate cancer in the future.

But Parker knows that early detection is the most important factor.

"I'm quite physically fit and I live a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't worry me much because I get checked out regularly, so if anything were to come and happen, I would know before it progresses to something unstoppable."

Both men agree that the reaction of women towards the mustaches being grown is mixed.

"I get a mixed reaction, a lot of women hate it, but a lot of women love it. A lot of women are all for Movember. A lot of girls think it's really ugly, but they don't know the true depth behind it."

Wenzlawe typically saw the same responses from women.

"They are reacting incredibly well. I find there are two schools of thought: the girls who are all for it and know about the cause and why I'm doing it, and then there's the girls who don't really know what Movember is about and think mustaches are gross. But to them, I say, 'Don't hate, donate,'" he says.

"It is always in the back of my mind and should be in the back of everyone's mind. I know that through Movember they provide lots of info and statistics. I believe being more educated will help me."

Wenzlawe is really enjoying the respect people give each other with mustaches.

"I find Movember to be a social thing. You walk down the hall or see someone in the store, and if they have a sweet 'mo' you point it out, and instantly you guys have a connection. It builds a really cool community."

Parker says: "People are going out of their comfort zone by growing a mustache, which isn't big in 2011. It's a good conversation piece, and people feel more comfortable."

Movember started far back in 1999 in Australia, but was not introduced into Europe or North America until 2007. It was relatively low on the radar until last year, but this year many athletes, celebrities, and even TV anchors have embraced Movember.

To donate to Mike and Jamie's team (moustacheryders), visit their Movember page. The duo will also have a table set up accepting donations, taking pictures, and selling mustache-themed cupcakes in Wykham House on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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