Close shaves for MOmen who raise cash for health initiatives
Bermuda’s Movember charity challenge came to its finale with an awards ceremony followed by a celebratory shave-off last night.
The annual men’s health drive closed with a bash at Clube Vasco Da Gama in Hamilton for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s “MoFinale”.
But for many, the entertainment value and camaraderie comes with a personal edge.
Neville Dias, a manager with the Swizzle Inn, was a first-timer getting sponsored to grow a moustache for the event, which targets men’s cancer causes.
“You hear a lot about cancer all around the world,” he said. “I come from India, where I had a couple of friends who could not get enough medical treatment. I said, you know what, I’ll do it by myself and see.”
Mr Dias added it was “not a good experience — it’s growing all over the place”.
“Some people say it looks good, some say it looks stupid. But it’s the cause. My target was $500. I’ve raised $600-plus.”
Whether you grow, host or give monthly — solo or in a team — you’re raising much needed funds and awareness for local men’s health initiatives, including the free men’s health screening events, Men's Health Reduce Your Risk presentations, and the centre’s Equal Access Fund, providing financial subsidisation for prostate consultation, ultrasounds, biopsies, and radiation therapy.
Since 2010, MOvember Bermuda™ has raised over $544,576! In 2020, 61 men in our community were directly supported through the centre's equal access programme which subsidises the cost of services when one's health insurance does not cover 100 per cent of a clinical service, or covers the full cost of clinical services for those without health insurance.
Women such as Annette Fitzmaurice, of Sompo International, also got into the spirit of Movember.
For Ms Fitzmaurice, the work entailed managing the fundraising for her team.
She lost her mother, aged 62, to lung cancer in 2014.
“She used to come every summer,” Ms Fitzmaurice said. “At the time she should have been here, she passed away.
“Cancer isn’t something that should be secret. It’s a very personal diagnosis. But the more people talk, the more men and women will get checked.
“Until it’s normal to discuss, it will keep happening.”
Shun Tanaka and Simba Chigwande were part of the Sompo team whose $775 was set to be matched by the company.
The choice was simple for Mr Chigwande: “I like the cause,” he said.
On his second MOvember, Mr Chigwande counted himself fortunate to have slow-growing facial hair.
He added: “My dad passed away from cancer in 2015. One of the reasons was they diagnosed it late. So this is big for me.”
Mr Tanaka, who lost a grandfather to the illness, said he liked shaving each morning but decided to give Movember a spin and let it grow.
“It’s important for men to consider life and health,” he said. “This is a special event to motivate men to think about it.”
Marthinus Dreyer, on his second year of cultivating a November moustache, said he lost an uncle to prostate cancer.
“Everybody knows somebody who has had cancer, a family member or a friend,” he said.
“It’s such a fun thing to do something, encourage people, make them aware of the importance of getting your health checked.”
Mr Dreyer normally grows a beard. “Depending on how lazy I am,” he added.
“This actually took effort. I had to shave clean. Will I be shaving tonight? Yes — quickly.”
A team from Luxury Cuts was on hand to help after judges were finished appraising the work of one month.
Matt Harding said he was part of a KPMG team that had raised “$10,000 so far”.
He said his wife had been “counting down the days” until the moustache was gone.
“This is my fifth time,” Mr Harding said. “It’s always good to support the cause. As men, we’re good at brushing things under the carpet.
“We’re not always good at being alert to the fact that sometimes we have to look after ourselves.”
He added: “Also, people are basically paying so that they can laugh at us.”
Asked if he would be dispensing with his moustache at the close of festivities, Mr Harding said: “Oh, yes. ASAP. I want to get this itchy thing off.”