A month of moustaches

Corey McNeice shows off his moustache that he grew for Movember. The Moose Jaw and District EMS raised over $1,400. Submitted.

Moose Jaw EMS raises $1,400 for Movember

November has come to a close and with it, the end of the Movember fundraising campaign.

The fundraiser, which is supported by the Movember Foundation, is a national campaign where men grow moustaches and get pledges to support men’s health causes. This year, eight members of the Moose Jaw and District EMS decided to get in on the campaign. Corey McNeice organized the effort and served as the team captain for their online fundraising effort.

“We were happy with the result,” he said.

The money raised goes to support a number of causes, ranging from prostate and colon cancer research to mental health support. McNeice said he was happy with how the campaign went, as they raised over $1,400 as a team. This was the first year local EMS took part as a team and

“The support was good, we hope to grow it next year,” McNeice said.

The medics are already hoping to be able to involve more people in their fundraiser in the future. This could mean expanding their moustache contest or trying to have other fundraising activities where they can engage the public. McNeice explained that fundraising and raising awareness for men’s health issues are critical because men typically die younger than women. Attempting to raise awareness around mental health is also something the medics found to be important, given their line of work.

The campaign is pretty much wrapped up, except for one more piece of business: picking a winner for their moustache contest. Members of the public were invited to submit a picture of their own soup-strainers for the chance to win a $100-gift card to the Warriors Store. McNeice said the winner of the contest will be announced soon.

“We’re just going to vote on our favourite moustache,” he said.

The medics were not the only locals getting in on the cause. Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence took part in fundraising efforts for the fifth year in a row.

“Personally, it went quite well, I did my highest fundraising this year,” he said.

Lawrence raised $562, while his team, which included fellow MLAs and members of caucus, raised $3,620 in total. The MLA said he thinks the campaign is getting bigger and gaining traction as people are starting to see the importance of the issues.

“I think it’s becoming more mainstream, more people realize that there is a growing list of men’s health issues and men are famous for not taking care of themselves the way they should,” he said.

Two of Lawrence’s colleagues who joined him in raising money this year were Greg Ottenbreit and Lyle Stewart, both of whom have battled cancer. Lawrence said these two cases reinforce the need to stay on top of one’s health.

“It’s really important you do your screening, you do your testing … especially when you get to be men our age, in our late 40s and 50s, and getting into our 60s,” he said.

For Lawrence, getting checked out regularly has been a priority, as his grandfather died young and in order to keep his 1A license he has to get regular physicals.

“It’s something I’ve been aware of for a long time,” he said.

This was reinforced for him all the more when a close friend became sick not that long ago.

“I lost a close friend. Roger Parent died of cancer just a year ago, and he went quick,” he said.

Lawrence explained that before being diagnosed, there were no major warning signs that something was wrong with his colleague’s health.

“He complained of a sore back, that was it,” he said. “This is why we need to make sure we take care of ourselves.”