Quest University student Jon Farmer is putting the fate of his moustache in the public’s hands.
Farmer is taking a unique approach to Movember, letting his fundraising effort determine the fate of his moustache. Two jars will sit at the university’s reception for the month of November — one says “shave,” the other “save.” On Nov. 30, the donations will be totalled and Farmer will shave or save his moustache accordingly.
In most cases, Mo Bros, as Movember participants are called, grow a moustache only during November, but two years ago Farmer decided to keep his.
“I was asked to MC a cabaret and the moustache fit the part. After that, it became a bit of a trademark,” he said.
Last year, he let his peers determine whether the moustache would stay or go, putting the two jars at the university’s reception. The results saw his fellow students lean decisively in favour of the soup strainer.
“It was a pretty overwhelming victory for the ’stache,” Farmer said. “We raised over $200 to keep it and just under $70 to shave.”
Farmer is bringing the fundraising technique back for this year but is hoping to raise awareness for men’s physical and mental health issues.
“Last year’s fundraising response was fantastic, but I wanted to spread the net farther,” he said. “I’m excited that Movember is funding men’s mental health issues now as well. Last year, I had four friends confide in me that their fathers had attempted suicide. People don’t talk about issues like this and I think they need to.”
He noted that one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Farmer said he wants to use the Movember movement to encourage everyone to talk about both physical and mental health issues.
“That’s the most important thing, to get people talking,” he said. “That’s why I have a moustache and when people ask, I tell them about these issues. That’s why I’m offering to shave.
“Yes, it’s silly and fun, but it’s also serious. No one talks about successful middle-aged men trying to kill themselves, but maybe if we had these conversations, asking for help wouldn’t be perceived as a weakness.”
Farmer isn’t the only Quest student drumming up support for Movember, as Quest’s Melissa Nelson plans to draw a moustache on her face every day for the entire month and collect pledges. Donors can also choose her moustache’s style for the day.
Another group of Quest students is putting together a calendar to raise money for the month. Approximately 150 calendars will be made available and will feature Quest students in sexy and silly scenarios with varying amounts of clothing. Calendars are available on campus for $10 each.
To cap the month, on Nov. 30 at 8 p.m., students will host a night of music and spoken-word performances on the third floor of the library building. Entrance to the event is by donation, with all proceeds going to Movember.
Those wanting to support Farmer can donate to his campaign by searching his name on www.movember.com.