RCMP officers Gabriel Gravel and Stephen Senuita issue a novel MVA infraction - Moustache Violation Act, to Const. Brody Hemrich for being bare-faced during the month of Movember. Hemrich has until Nov. 30 to grow a moustache for the men’s health awareness month for his ticket to be redacted. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

RCMP officers Gabriel Gravel and Stephen Senuita issue a novel MVA infraction - Moustache Violation Act, to Const. Brody Hemrich for being bare-faced during the month of Movember. Hemrich has until Nov. 30 to grow a moustache for the men’s health awareness month for his ticket to be redacted. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert RCMP accept ‘stache’ challenge from fire rescue

“Bring it on,” RCMP call out to firefighters in Movember gauntlet

Prince Rupert RCMP rose to the challenge of the Movember facial hair gauntlet thrown down by their fire fighting counterparts in red, with an enthusiastic “bring it on”, Nov. 3.

While the Movember movement of shaving off facial hair and regrowing the whiskery bristles was initially established to promote awareness and raise funds for male health issues, such as prostate, colon and testicular cancers, it has enveloped other concerns over the years, Const. Gabriel Gravel told The Northern View.

The nine-member blue team has taken on the November men’s health awareness month with sirens sounding and lights flashing as the detachment supports mental health and suicide prevention. While the challenge between the red and blue first responders is all in good fun, the cause is not to be taken lightly.

Const. Kyle Bengtsson, RCMP team captain, is a Prince Rupert nine-year mo-bro who has raised more than $3,300 since 2010. For just less than a decade, he has been shaving off his infamous “stache” every Oct. 31 and regrowing it to support the cause.

“There, unfortunately, is still a massive stigma surrounding mental health which causes a lot of men to stay silent and attempt to cope on their own, often using methods that have serious negative reactions to their mental health,” Bengtsson stated on his Movember fundraising page. “I was the same way, tried to cope on my own using unhealthy methods which created more issues in life and relationships. It’s not much, but I grow my moustache and help fundraise for Movember in an attempt to break that stigma and help men realize that it is ok to reach out for help.

Worldwide one man dies of suicide every minute of the day, according to the Movember website and in Canada, three out of four suicides are male.

“Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men. Too many men are ‘toughing it out’, keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence. The Movember Foundation is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25 per cent by 2030,” Bengtsson said. “I want to help them get there. Help me stop men dying too young.”

As of Nov. 4, just four days into the fundraising challenge, Bengtsson has surpassed his goal of $250 to reach $315. The team’s total goal was $1,000. However, by the fourth day of the month-long campaign, it has reached $1,362, claiming the lead ahead of Prince Rupert Fire Fighters, who have raised $320.

“They are known for their moustaches, but we have a lot of members with moustaches, too,” Gravel, who has a personal goal of $500, said. “This year being organized and a having a specific Prince Rupert RCMP Movember team and this challenge being called publically, I think it will stimulate our members to help us to raise more money than we have in the past.”

“Remember, it’s for charity. We are calling on all the spouses to bear with us. My wife hates it when I grow a moustache. It’s for a good cause. Please see beyond the stache,” Gravel said, issuing a reminder. “For us, mental health and suicide is a stigma and very real with a lot of what we deal with. A lot of police officers are affected by it. A lot of firemen are affected by it — first responders as a whole.”

The public can donate to individual officers or to the RCMP team, by visiting ca.movember.com. Donations to Prince Rupert firefighters can be made at the same site.


 
K-J Millar | Journalist 
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