Keith Hobbs has had a goatee since he was a young cop working the undercover drug beat.
But shaving it off for Movember is becoming an annual tradition.
Hobbs and Confederation College president Jim Madder, he a three-decade moustache wearer, and several other hairy-faced men gathered Thursday at city hall, where one-by-one they watched their facial hair float to the floor in the name of cancer awareness.
For the remainder of the month they’ll grow their moustaches back, taking part in the city’s growing Movember campaign.
Hobbs, rarely seen without his goatee, said it’s all in the name of a great cause, one that’s touched his own life at times.
“I’ve had my own challenges with prostate issues. I got checked and had a biopsy last year, so it’s very important that men get out there and don’t be afraid to see their doctors and don’t be afraid to address this issue,” Hobbs.
And it’s relatively simple to take part in, the mayor added. Awareness can save lives.
“My dad was afraid of doctors and I was too. My dad ended up with cancer and being a statistic,” Hobbs said.
“I don’t know if that was because he didn’t seek treatment or not, but it’s important that men hide their shame and their pride and get out there and do this. It’s an insidious disease, plus the funds raised from this go a long way to finding possibly a cure.”
According to statistics provided by Thunder Bay’s volunteer Movember co-ordinator Jon Hendl, about 4,500 people will die this year in Canada from prostate cancer alone. About 10,000 will be diagnosed with the disease.
In many cases it’s unnecessary.
Organizer Phil Junnila, who is undergoing radiation treatment for cancer, also shaved his moustache on Thursday, and agreed now’s the time to bring men’s health issues to the forefront and let them know it’s OK to get a PSA test done.
It doesn’t make them any less of a man, and early detection does save lives, he said.
“It’s simple,” said Junnila, whose prostate cancer diagnosis was uncovered by a doctor during a routine examination, noticing a change in his prostate from previous check-ups.
“If I had not been going for regular physicals, he wouldn’t have known it was different. I had no outward symptoms whatsoever. He did some blood tests. The blood tests showed an anomaly. I went to see a specialist and low and behold I sat at his desk and he said, ‘Phil, you have cancer,’” Junnila said.
“And my world shattered and it’s never been the same since. So I am spending my time, and the volunteer of Prostate Cancer Canada Network Thunder Bay are spending their time trying to help families who are afflicted with this disease. We are trying to help families avoid this disease.”
To join the local campaign or to make a donation, visit www.movember.com and search for Thunder Bay.
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