'Mo' funds in Movember
Once a year Mark Dickson grows a moustache in support of the Movember Foundation.
"For me, a big reason for doing it is to raise awareness for men's health," said Dickson, who owns Dickson Chiropractic in Tillsonburg. "I find a lot of men are nervous or scared to talk about... their health, going to the doctor for checkups, blood work, or for just general overall wellness.
"By growing the mustache, it really helps men talk more about their health. A big part of the foundation is raising awareness and research for prostate cancer and testicular cancer, and more recently they've included mental health and suicide prevention because lots of men have mental health issues. It's not talked about. For many men it's difficult to go to the doctor to express issues they're having.
"For me, in doing a small part in growing a moustache, I find that it helps people talk about things more. I talk about it more to my patients and friends about how they are doing and if they've been to a doctor recently to possibly get their blood checked, or annual physical, or stuff like that.
"People ask 'why do you have a moustache?' Or 'what's it about?' So a lot of my patients do understand more about reasons for Movember, about raising awareness for men's health, or different male cancers. I get a lot of support from my patients as well.
"For the people who have had prostate cancer, or having treatments now, I find that it's a nice way to show that we care about them and that we're trying to raise money to help... to help with treatments, to help with better research for these people who have gone through it or might be going through it right now."
About two weeks into November he was within reach of his $1,000 target or 2017 and started asking people on Facebook, and his friends in town, to help reach that number. It wasn't long before he surpassed it, hitting $1,400-1,500.
"A bit of a slow start, then once some donations came in, they all started coming in," said Dickson, who attributed that, in part, to moustache growth. "For me it takes a bit longer to grow a moustache - it takes about two weeks."
Throughout the month of Movember, Dickson has been posting photos online, including his family, to help bring in donations.
"I take some pictures of myself and with the kids, and we put little mustaches on them or wear mustache T-shirts."
With only a handful of days remaining in this year's Movember campaign, Dickson, was fast approaching $2,000, which he was able to reach by the end of the month for a total of $2,015, bringing his three-year grand total to $4,200.
"The majority of donations were from people in Tillsonburg. It makes you feel really proud and happy that these people are taking the time to go on the website (https://ca.movember.com) to make a donation, or they're dropping by my place to give me money to put towards it."
As they say, however, 'all good things must come to an end.' And Saturday was Dickson's shaving day.
"I do look forward to shaving it," said Dickson on Friday, recalling some funny incidents down the home stretch.
Last Tuesday, enjoying the warmer weather, he rolled down the car window. For the first time he felt wind blowing through his mustache.
"Yeah," Dickson laughed.
"Another time just this week, now that the hair's longer, I was chatting with someone and I went to breathe in - I breathed in a hair - and I had a pretty bad coughing spell. Pretty embarrassing!"
When shaving off his mustache, Dickson said he makes sure his two young children assist him.
"I include the kids in it so that they're not scared of me, that I've changed my look. They may not recognize me. So I have a clipper to kind of buzz it shorter, and have the kids help me hold the buzzer and shave some of it off, before I clean shave it."
Dickson is one of millions, according to the Movember website, who have participated since the movement's inception in 2003. They still get participation every year from a wide variety of men - athletes and celebrities to police officers, to just average Joe's, said Dickson. All hoping to make a difference.
"We look forward to doing it every year as a group of friends here in London, and other places. We keep each other going with it. We post pictures and in the beginning we're kind of laughing at each other, then by the end there's more respect and you feel proud of what you've accomplished."