Movember Calgary Foundation focusing more on health than on funds in economic downturn

Calgary Movember organizers are bracing themselves for fewer donations than last year’s campaign thanks to the economic downturn. However, the organization still wants to make men’s health a priority.

Sam Swain, co-chair for Movember Calgary, says the city continues to be a leader in the November campaign in which men grow moustaches for the month of November and collect funds to aid men’s health programs.

According to Swain, the foundation raised $1.4 million last year, a large part of which was due to the contributions of oil and gas employees in Calgary. “This year obviously is going to be a more difficult year, but they are still stepping up and we are seeing the oil and gas guys who couldn’t get out to some of the events previously are attending,” says Swain.

“We may have a lower fundraising year, but we’re going to get more participation, which is equally as important in getting people talking about their health, so that’s really great.”

David Spence, meteorologist for CTV Calgary and 660 News, shaved his signature moustache off earlier this month, and publicly announced that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012.

“This opportunity came up to take part in Movember this year, and I was ready at this point to tell people about the disease.” -David Spence, CTV Calgary and 660 News meteorologist

In February of 2013, Spence underwent chemotherapy and thanks to an early diagnosis, he now has a clean bill of health.

“I kept it quiet for a couple of years, but I have always known I wanted to pay it back in some way,” says Spence. “This opportunity came up to take part in Movember this year, and I was ready at this point to tell people about the disease. The timing was just right for me to get involved.”

David Spence shaved off his signature moustache in early November. Spence’s Movember team, the CTV Lip Bombs, has raised over $12,000 for men’s health projects. Photo courtesy of David Spence.

Spence’s Movember team, the CTV Lip Bombs, has raised over $12,000. Spence says he is surprised with the contributions. “Some people are coming through with donations in excess of $100 each and that’s what surprised me. To have donations of this size is really very nice.”

“I’m not really in it to raise money although raising money is fantastic and necessary, but the message I really want to get across is the importance of early detection,” says Spence.

Because Spence’s cancer was detected early, his treatment was comparatively easy. Treatment for late-stage diagnoses can be longer, more complicated and have harsher side-effects.

The Movember Foundation is a global charity that started in Australia in 2003 and has since grown to 21 countries worldwide.

Funds support men’s health programs in four areas: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity. To date, the Movember Foundation has funded 1000
men’s health projects.

Thumbnail courtesy of David Spence

ksolway@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Ashley Grant, agrant@cjournal.ca