SASKATOON – You’ve probably heard of Movember, but have you heard of Manuary? The second annual Manuary ‘Shave Off’ took place Saturday afternoon at Tommy Gun’s Barbershop in Saskatoon.
The event marks the beginning of a month-long beard competition, which hopes to raise funds and increase awareness of head and neck cancers.
“It’s very, very common, it’s now the sixth-most common cancer in the world. Its affects can be devastating. Not just an cosmesis, but on function,” organizer Dr. Rick Jaggi said.
In Saskatchewan more than anywhere else in Canada, the disease is diagnosed at an advanced stage.
“The symptoms of head and neck cancer aren’t always obvious. There’s things like difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, difficulty with your speech and a lump in your neck. It’s not something you can just see and diagnose right away,” the surgeon said.
“I’d say more than half the patients, maybe 78 per cent are presenting late stage, so Stage 3 or 4. At which time it’s really hard to treat and the treatments are very difficult,” Dr. Jaggi said.
Ivan Melnychuk is a survivor and knows the consequences of late diagnoses. He has dedicated himself to raising awareness for head and neck cancers so other don’t have to go through what he did.
“Three out of 10 people survive this. I was one of them. I was fortunate. So in doing that I have to pay it forward. I have to do what I can to fight back. Part of what I do to fight back is join head and neck research and education foundations like Manuary,” says Melnychuk.
Money raised from the event will stay within Saskatoon Health Region to help those in the community.
Participants can sign up individually or as a team. Women are also encouraged to participate and raise donations by submitting a photo to the Manuary website where it will be ‘bearded’ using Photoshop.
At the end of January, the Manuary campaign will come to a close with a ‘Facial Hair Face Off.’ Beards will be judged for their creativity and prizes will be given away to those who raise to most money.
© 2016 Shaw Media