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Dickson chins-up for 2021 Movember challenge

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Tillsonburg’s Dr. Mark Dickson has been passionate about Movember since he first started growing a stache and raising funds for the cause seven years ago.

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Since 2007 in Canada, Movember has been supporting men’s health and mental health awareness, research for prostate and testicular cancer, and suicide prevention.

This year, it’s personal. His uncle Harry Dickson from London passed away in June 2021 from multiple cancers, including prostate cancer.

“He was a very hard-working guy, worked in a factory for about 42 years, always very dedicated to family. A very quiet guy, but really caring. Always positive, wanting to help others. It was a big loss for the family.”

It made Mark want to work even harder to reach – and surpass – his Movember goals and help others.

“I didn’t think it would affect our family, but it happens to so many families out there.”

Dickson is dedicating this Movember to his Uncle Harry who got sick, was diagnosed with cancer, and died within 3-4 months.

“It’s been helpful for myself and some other family members. A lot of his friends have been saying great things (when posting on social media) about my uncle, so that’s kind of bringing up some of the stories, the positive things that he’s done over the years. So it’s been helpful for myself, my mom, my family, trying to do something nice that I think he would be proud of, raising money and awareness for prostate cancer research.”

Last year Dickson raised $4,000 for Movember and is on his way to shooting past that mark. As of Monday he had raised $3,141 and he is hoping to reach out to even more people.

In seven years (so far) he has raised nearly $17,000 in total. A donation from Domino’s Pizza in Tillsonburg on Monday put him within a few dollars of that milestone.

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“Every year there is a lot of repeat people that are willing to help me – some people that helped in the first year of my campaign are still with me this year.”

There are two ways to contribute to Dickson’s month-long campaign. You can donate online through the Movember website (Dickson’s page is at https://ca.movember.com/mospace/12563117 ). The $2,500 target shown on the page, said Dickson, was the minimum he wanted to raise, not the end goal. You can also drop off donations at Indigo Lounge where he has his chiropractic office (264 Tillson Avenue). Or email Dickson at mdicksondc@gmail.com to assist with donations.

“If I set my goal too high it stresses me out, I don’t enjoy it as much. But I’m going to work really hard at it the whole month.”

1,000 CHIN-UP CHALLENGE

“It’s been a great month so far,” said Dickson, who is doing a personal ‘1,000 chin-ups in one month’ Movember challenge this year.

Dickson had been kicking around the idea since his 2019 Hulk Hogan-theme moustache. He had fun with that creative costume and received a lot of positive comments. However, he remembers a couple people saying he looked like ‘Hulk Hogan without the muscles.’ That stuck with him.

Inspired by a SWAT officer, Dickson decided to try chin-up training. His first attempt failed.

“When I tried it for the first time, I couldn’t even do one. It took me a couple months working on other muscles to help me get strong enough to be able to do one.”

He kept with it and since January 2020 bought his own chin-up bar, setting it up in the kitchen where he would see and use it every day. Now he can do a set of 30-35 chin-ups.

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As of Sunday in ‘Movember 2021’ he had completed 689 chin-ups.

“My record now is 35 in a row… and it took me two months just to be able to do one.”

Dickson’s 2021 moustache is meant to have a ‘tough guy’ look to go along with his improved physical fitness. It’s been a tradition to do a ‘photo shoot’ at the end of the campaign and he will continue it this year.

“It’s almost like a handlebar, but kind of halfway down the sides.”

In past years Dickson did a five-minute plank (which took 30 days to reach) and 60 kilometres walking with his family.

“It’s always kind of fun to throw that in just to lead by example – especially with the chin-ups. I couldn’t even do one but if you stick with something it can really pay off. So someone who might be nervous about starting in a gym or starting to try to eat better, it starts with Day 1… and try your best. Stick with it and you will get the results.”

This year he made a Facebook Live video doing his chin-ups.

“Definitely I’m planning to do more live videos. We have about nine days left (as of Nov. 21) and I’m probably looking to do at least one or two more videos where I show what these chin-ups look like with the moustache.

“It’s not pretty,” he laughed. “It’s a struggle to hit 30-35 in a row but for my video I had the kids cheering dad on as I’m trying to pull myself over the bar. The family’s been there the whole step of the way. So for every chin-up I’ve done the kids have been there, mostly at home, counting them out, same with my wife Anna. They are really supporting me in getting these chin-ups done. I’m pretty proud of the results (both fundraising and athletically) and I’m having a lot of fun with it too.”

cabbott@postmedia.com

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