David Pastor, News Reporter
Austin Spearman’s voice cracked as he spoke about losing family and friends to suicide.
The losses motivated the Humber graduate to participate in his second year with Movember, a fundraiser entering its 16th campaign, attempting to raise awareness for testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention among men.
“I come from a town where we had a lot of suicides when I was in high school,” Spearman said. “[I] lost a couple friends to suicide, even within my own family I’ve lost a couple [family members] to suicide.”
The statistics are concerning. Mental health is a large concern in today’s society as 75 per cent of suicides are male and globally a man dies from suicide every minute. Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed in men between 19 and 34, and prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed in men over 65.
Throughout November, Movember Canada encourages men and women to take part in the campaign. Participants are urged to grow a moustache, run 60 kilometres, or hold an event to get the word out about the severity of these illnesses and to start conversations.
Radio Humber has taken part in the fundraiser for the last eight years and has raised more than $10,000.
Shane DeMerchant, development manager for Movember Canada, praised students for their help and contributions throughout the campaigns.
“We get a ton of support from students all across Canada, on campuses from coast to coast,” he said.
Within the first week and a half, colleges and universities across the country have raised close to $300,000.
Ismail Ali, a first-year Film and Media Production student at Lakeshore campus, took part in his first campaign this year.
“It’s a way I can be a part of a good cause,” he said. “It’s something as simple as shaving my beard.”
There’s more involved than just raising money to help find a cure. Students should keep a healthy lifestyle to prevent these diseases from occurring.
Jason Powell, the senior Dean of Student Health and Wellness, emphasized the importance of students keeping a healthy balanced lifestyle despite a busy schedule.
“I think students need to pay attention to a healthy diet, healthy exercise pattern, healthy sleep pattern and physical examinations from a health care provider,” he said.
DeMerchant said men should be aware of experiences that could be described as life changing, such as becoming a parent, retirement or students moving away from home for the first time.
“It’s a period of transition where we encourage all guys to be vigil about that period for their own mental health, but to be aware of the mental health of the guys around them,” he said.
Although some people in the world may not be affected by these diseases personal, others in their lives may. Movember Canada motivates everyone to be there for one another and make sure to Ask, Listen, Encourage and Check-In (ALEC).
It may not seem like much, but it can save a life.