Winnipeg Movember campaign successfully navigates hairy pandemic to raise funds

We’re just over the halfway mark in the month of November, but for many people in Winnipeg and around the world, the month is better known by another, hairier name.

The chair of Winnipeg’s Movember campaign, Jesse Thomas, told 680 CJOB that the annual fundraiser in support of men’s cancer research is going strong once again in 2020, despite challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s off to a good start,” he said. “We’re obviously in an interesting year, but we’re still making things happen.

Movember is a leading charity for men’s health, he says, raising funds to fight testicular cancer and prostate cancer and perhaps most importantly this year, mental health and physical health resources.

Click to play video 'Local Movember Campaign' Local Movember Campaign

Local Movember Campaign

“In the year we’re having, those things have come to the forefront. The mental and physical health of everybody is being affected to different levels, so it’s important to get the message out there that even if we feel separated and alone, we are not.”

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Thomas said the traditional way of raising funds throughout the month — growing a moustache and collecting pledges — isn’t the only way to get involved, and supporters can “mo their own way” to come up with moneymaking ideas.

“It’s never too late to get involved,” he said.

“You can, of course, grow the moustache, which is the original way, but Movember has expanded to be as inclusive as possible.”

Thomas said he’s seen a lot of creative approaches from Winnipeggers, including one man, Jeremy Leathers, who has offered to cut his two-and-a-half years of hair growth if he meets a fundraising goal.

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Read more: Movember wants Canadians to get growing this November

“I’ve been growing my hair for two and a half years and my beard for a year,” said Leathers on his “mospace” fundraising page.

“I’ve decided that I will cut it all off for a cause. Movember is an organization that raises money to benefit men’s cancer and mental health initiatives with an overall goal of reducing the premature death of men by 25 per cent by 2030.

“As someone who has taken advantage of mental health supports myself, I think that it’s very important that those are available for others.”

Thomas said would-be fundraisers or donors can visit Movember Winnipeg on social media, or search for friends to donate to via the official Movember Canada website, until the end of the month.

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