Mustache, caterpillar, lip sweater — the list goes on.
Whatever you call it, that hair grown above the upper lip has transformed November into Movember, a month about raising awareness about prostate cancer and funds for research.
For a Courtice, Ont. barbershop, the movement has a special meaning.
Mike Jelks grows a moustache every November, but for him, it’s less a style choice and more about a cause he believes in. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006.
“If it didn’t save my life, it definitely improved my life,” said Jelks.
This month, he doesn’t press people to give money to the Movember cause. Instead, he lets his moustache start the conversation about prostate cancer.
“You’d be surprised how easy it becomes once you’ve been there,” said Helks.
“It’s important, because so many men just don’t go to the family doctor at all, yet here we have a cancer which is very sneaky. You don’t know you got it and the consequences of having it can be very, very bad.”
The man who cuts his hair, Steven Grimley, knows what that illness is all about. His dad, Jim, was diagnosed in 2010.
“It was shocking when he came home and told us,” said Grimley, owner and head barber at The Kingsmen – Barbers on King.
“I always remember the night before the operation, I kept looking in the mirror going, ‘I hope they didn’t mix me up with someone else because I don’t have any problems.’ I wasn’t aware of any problems,” Jim said.
Grimley opened this Courtice barbership almost two years ago and wanted to support the Movember movement.
“We had the platform for it, the majority of the clientele are men — probably 80 per cent,” explained Steven Grimley.
“Seeing how many men come into the shop, how many men had been affected by prostate cancer, once you initiate the conversation, people start talking and feel more comfortable with it,” said Lindsay Grimley, The Kingsmen – Barbers on King’s owner and manager.
A dollar from every person who sits in the chairs for a haircut throughout the month of November goes towards the cause. Last year, $1,300 was raised and that figure has already been shattered in 2019.
The statistics around prostate cancer are sobering. One in seven Canadian men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime, a statistic that underscores the importance of supporting research into the illness.
There’s still a couple days left in the fundraising campaign, but Grimley is confident they’ll hit well over $4,000 for men’s health by the end of it.
And like the mustaches, they hope it continues to grow from here.
“Get over the embarrassment. Go get checked — it may save your life,” said Jim Grimley.