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Trimming up for a cause

Vernon firefighter Craig Dobbins has his more than 20-year-old moustache shaved off by Mayria Oliverius, from International Trendsetters, Thursday to kick off Movember in support of prostate cancer awareness. - Jennifer Smith/Morning Star
Vernon firefighter Craig Dobbins has his more than 20-year-old moustache shaved off by Mayria Oliverius, from International Trendsetters, Thursday to kick off Movember in support of prostate cancer awareness.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Shaving off more than 20 years of growth, one local firefighter is among the ranks dedicated to changing the face of men’s health.

Craig Dobbins, Vernon Fire-Rescue volunteer lieutenant, was one of the first in line to forgo his cookie duster Thursday as the fire department kicks off Movember to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer.

Within minutes, the ‘stache that took 20-plus years to grow was shed like tears to the floor.

As a fresh-faced Dobbins was revealed, every lip in the house, including his own, curled into a smirk of delight.

“I can hardly wait for work tomorrow,” laughed the 54-year-old city worker, anticipating all the reactions of colleagues who have never seen Dobbins’ bare lip.

“I’ll probably have to get new ID photos.”

Dobbins was joined by Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief, as they shed their flavour savers to kick off Movember.

Starting Tuesday, the two will be joined by their fellow firefighters as they start clean shaven and grow their moustaches out for a month.

It shouldn’t be a hard task for the likes of Dobbins and Skolrood. But many of the traditionally clean-shaven firefighters will be put to the test.

Sponsoring donations will be accepted from Nov. 1 to 30 at the Vernon fire department.

Such efforts to raise awareness for the cancer which will develop in one in seven men, are applauded.

“It’s raised the level of awareness,” said Ken Waldon, support group co-ordinator with the Prostate Cancer Support and Awareness Group.

“This chap in particular, the sacrifice he’s made...there’s 20 years worth of facial and within two minutes it’s gone.”

The Movember campaign, which has grown into a worldwide event celebrated by mo bros and mo sistas, raised $22 million last year for prostate cancer research, education, support and awareness initiatives.

Evidence that Canadians are embracing the moustache and making a difference.

“It affects us all,” said Dobbins, who, like many, personally knows friends and family struggling with the disease.

All men over the age of 50, or over 40 for those with a family history of cancer, are urged to get a checkup as early detection can save lives.

“Most men will die with it rather than from it,” said Waldon of the slow-growing disease that often presents without symptoms.

 

 

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