West Hants catches Movember madness

Carole Morris-Underhill editor@hantsjournal.ca
Published on November 22, 2012

Chrystal Remme, second from right, helped organize the Movember fundraiser at the West Hants Municipality. Taking part in the growing of moustaches for the cause are, from left, Jerry Wood (finance director), Jeff Hanshaw (IT specialist), and Doug MacInnis (development officer). Missing from the photo, but sporting whiskers, are Jody den Haan and Mitch Weatherbee.

Carole Morris-Underhill

West Hants municipal staff have found a way to honour the memory of a former co-worker.

Municipal employees are participating in Movember — a month-long fundraiser aimed at raising funds to support men's health issues, specifically prostate cancer and mental health initiatives.

From hosting a meatball luncheon last week and purchasing moustache cupcakes, to growing out some whiskers, West Hants staffers have embraced the fundraiser.

“It's pretty hard these days to find anybody who hasn't been touched in some way by cancer,” said  Lynn Davis, the director of planning. “Movember, in my opinion, I think it's just a particularly good way to raise awareness about men's health.”

The funds raised will be donated in memory of Henry “Hank” Gibson, who died in April 2006 of complications due to prostate cancer.

Davis knew Gibson when he worked with the municipality as a building inspector. She said she has fond memories of the Hants County resident.

“Whenever I think of him, I think of him always smiling, happy,” said Davis. “He always had something funny to say.”

Davis said Gibson was well-liked by staff, and those he met in the community while he was on the job.

“(He was) just a real gentleman, just a very kind, polite type of person — the kind of person you'd like to have in an office, because he contributes to a pleasant atmosphere.”

Gibson died when he was 61.

According to the Movember website, one in seven Canadian men will develop prostate cancer — and 26,500 new cases will be diagnosed in this country in 2012. It is estimated that 4,000 Canadian men die of prostate cancer annually.

Chrystal Remme, the municipality's executive assistant, has been working with staff to make the fundraiser a success, and is the captain of the Mo Growers team.

She said the response has been great, not only in-house, but with residents supporting the cause as well.

Five men employed with the municipality are growing 'staches for the cause: Jody den Haan, Jeff Hanshaw, Doug MacInnis, Mitch Weatherbee and Jerry Wood. Hanshaw looks a lot different these days as he was sporting a beard for years before shaving it all off to grow a 'mo for Movember.

“If you raise awareness and people go for testing... it's the best way to prevent it,” said Remme. “It's a pretty visible way to bring awareness to it, that's for sure.”

She hopes people will log onto the Movember website (www.movember.ca), visit the Mo Growers page and donate.