HALIFAX – When you think of grizzly, unkempt beards and strong moustaches, lawyers and judges might not be the first people who come to mind.
But the justice community is trying to change that opinion for a good cause: Movember.
Michael Blades is just one of many lawyers and judges participating in Movember to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.
READ MORE: Movember coverage from Global News
The now clean-shaven associate lawyer at the McInnes Cooper firm has a family history of prostate cancer and said his grandfather, father and uncle all battled — and beat — the disease.
“Thanks to the Movember campaign and my involvement in it, it’s certainly more on my radar,” he said.
Blades said he appreciates the support from the judiciary to get involved in the campaign.
“You would speak with a lot of lawyers before and they would say, ‘You know, I would love to get involved and I think it’s a great thing, but I have to be in court this month so I don’t want to participate by growing a moustache.’
“Having the judiciary on board has been phenomenal in the sense it breaks down that barrier. People are more willing to do it because there’s going to be a judge on the bench with either great or perhaps a very poor mo,” he said.
Statistics from the Movember Foundation show that one in seven men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in 28 will die from it.
Early detection is key to survival rates, which is where the discussion of facial hair or lack thereof comes in. Clean-shaven men grow beards or moustaches, while normally bearded men go baby-smooth to start a new beard, and the idea is to spur greater discussion of men’s health.
Movember co-chair Mike Milloy said proceeds from the campaign benefit Prostate Cancer Canada and the Canadian Men’s Mental Health Network.
“I think awareness needs to be everywhere about men’s health issues and men’s mental health,” he said.
“I’m super pleased with the way Movember has really taken off. It had a really modest start…now it’s taken off better and quicker every single year.”
Greater discussion about men’s health, both physical and mental, is the reason behind Mo Sistas, which is being spearheaded in Halifax by Live 105 morning host Floyd Blaikie.
“Guys are really hesitant some of the time to talk about their issues. It’s like the bro code: you don’t talk about it until it’s too late,” she said.
“Having that little extra encouragement goes a long way for their confidence. We raise money but we also encourage guys to talk because women seem to be a little better opening up about stuff like that than men.”
A Halifax hair salon is also getting in on the Movember campaign.
Skybox on Barrington Street is offering complimentary beard and moustache trims for the entire month.
“Where [Movember] is dedicated towards moustaches, I think having a salon…it’s a direct complement that we can provide a service for all participants,” said owner Daniel O’Grady.
This is the first time the salon has done the Movember special.
Down at the waterfront, Theodore Tugboat got a special shave today by 11-year-old Max Gilbert. The boat will be getting different fake moustaches for the month of November.
Max saw his dad growing a moustache one year for Movember and wanted to find a way for women and children to get involved.
He started selling felt moustaches to kids and has since raised more than $6,000 for Movember.
He said the reason behind his involvement is very simple.
“You might not have your dad around for all your life,” he said. “You love your family, so why don’t you help them with their health?”
Gibert’s father Kent said the cause is very personal for the family. His father and three uncles survived prostate cancer.
“For me, it’s almost a question not of if but when you get prostate cancer. Early detection is key, and I get checked on a regular basis,” he said.