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‘Half-stache September’: Humboldt bus crash survivor creates unique mental health fundraiser

Click to play video: 'Humboldt Broncos crash survivor joins golfers for mental health fundraiser' Humboldt Broncos crash survivor joins golfers for mental health fundraiser
WATCH: It all started as a dare that quickly turned into a fundraising effort for mental health. The end result: Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Tyler Smith shaving off half his moustache. Lauren Pullen explains.

Tyler Smith has been sporting a moustache for quite some time, and he’s become rather fond of it. But someone who isn’t quite sold on the facial hair is his friend Dee Bremner.

The two met at Fox Hollow, a golf course where Tyler had just started working at the same time that Dee joined the ladies league.

The two became fast friends but there was one thing Dee couldn’t let go of.

“I’ve been bugging (him) over the summer months about his moustache,” Dee said. “(I told him) ‘You need to shave it off Tyler, you’d be so cute without it.'”

Read more: Humboldt Bronco to return to ice for his first game since bus crash

So Dee offered Tyler $50 to shave off half of his ‘stache.

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“It started as a dare. I didn’t think Tyler would do it,” Dee said.

But she soon came to learn about Tyler’s past as a survivor of the Humboldt bus crash and his dedication to helping youth deal with mental health.

“As much as I’m going to hate to see my moustache go, it’s for a very good cause,” Tyler said of the fundraiser. “Mental health is a very difficult and uncomfortable space for a lot of people, so if we can make it fun in any way.”

With the help of his workplace, Tyler decided to turn Dee’s dare into an act of good for an organization that he said is very close to his heart, Jack.org, which focuses on mental health for youth across Canada.

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: Humboldt Bronco crash survivor shares mental health advice' Health Matters: Humboldt Bronco crash survivor shares mental health advice
Health Matters: Humboldt Bronco crash survivor shares mental health advice – Nov 17, 2020

After suffering from his own mental health issues following the tragic accident, Tyler said he wants to use this fundraiser as a way to raise awareness and help others who are suffering.

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“It took me a while and there were many, many weeks and months of suffering in silence and putting that mask on,” he said.

“I think being able to help people remember that it’s okay — it’s okay to just take it one day at a time and remember sometimes you do feel alone but you really are never alone in your fight.”

Dee, as a mental health therapist, is also a huge advocate for the cause.

“It’s so important. In my mind, mental health and physical health are one and the same — they’re both connected,” Dee said.

“We can’t be following the medical model where we just look at physical health. We need to address mental health and we need to really keep making advancements in society to understand that connection and the importance of both.”

Read more: Alberta government providing $87M to improve youth mental health in schools

While the half-shave may leave Tyler’s face feeling bare, he and Dee believe the money raised will help create empowering conversation and change for so many others.

So far, the fundraiser has already netted more than $3,000. To donate or learn more about the initiative, click here.

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