November Is Movember

By Martin Blake, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. October 14, 2015

Once again, this November – now often referred to worldwide as Movember – officers and civilians from across the Service will be sporting moustaches, forming teams, raising funds, and having conversations about men’s health. 

A moustache logo
The moustache is meant to start conversations about men's health during the month of November

The Movember phenomenon has been a remarkable success worldwide, growing and evolving to become a year-round men’s health charity. Focusing on research, awareness, fundraising, and health promotion programs that involve prostate cancer, testicular cancer, physical inactivity, and men’s mental health initiatives, the goal of the Movember Foundation is simple: to get men talking about health, while being committed to helping men live happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions worldwide have joined the global moustachioed men’s health movement, raising over $677 million, and funding over 1,000 health and awareness programs.

Members of the Toronto Police Service have been enthusiastic supporters of Movember for several years, and the Service has seen enormous participation from many ‘MoBros’ and ‘MoSistas’ throughout all areas of the Service. From 2012 - 2014, 619 Toronto Police members have registered, raising over $192,000 for  Movember Canada. A large part of the success of these annual campaigns has been the Toronto Police Association’s sponsorship of the 'TPA Movember Challenge', which encourages participation, and offers to match the funds raised, up to $10,000, for the lead-fundraising Toronto Police team.

“We want to encourage our members to get involved, because this is such an important issue” said Mike McCormack, President of the Toronto Police Association. “Discussion leads to detection, and detection leads to help for these kinds of health issues, so it is very important for us to have these discussions.”

The reigning champion of the ‘TPA Movember Challenge’ is the Divisional Policing Support Unit (DPSU) team, which raised over $26,000 in 2014 - the second-highest amount of any single police team in Canada. The 2013 campaign saw team ‘Follicle Force,’ comprised of 12 & 43 Division members, narrowly winning the Challenge over Team DPSU.

The team-vs-team, unit-vs-unit challenge has certainly brought out the charitable – and competitive – spirit in members, and has fostered excellent teamwork among the registered teams.  

“We had a rivalry with the winners from the year before, and we really wanted to amp up our fundraising and awareness for this campaign. The atmosphere in the building was definitely vibrant, you could feel it” said Victoria Shaw, Captain of DPSU’s 2014 TPA Movember Challenge winning team. “Movember is a great way to raise awareness of health issues for the men in our lives. We all have husbands, fathers, and sons, and this is a great way to build momentum behind these issues.”

DPSU Inspector Dave Saunders echoed the importance of providing a positive health message through the campaign.

“Wellness in the workplace is so important, and when you see the enthusiasm that I saw, and the results that we had, it was really an honour to be a part of this team.”

The Toronto Police 2015 Movember fundraising campaign

Policing and moustaches seem to have a considerable history together, and participation in Movember by police service members worldwide has been considerably, and consistently, strong. 

“It is great for the community to see police officers growing moustaches, and interacting with them in a way they don’t normally do. The camaraderie it brings, not just in Toronto, but across Canada, and the world, is incredible. Police have been one of our strongest communities worldwide, and policing teams and networks bring in a lot of fundraising, and get people growing moustaches and talking about men’s health. It is a real community highlight,” said Jesse Hayman, Director of Community Engagement at Movember Canada. 

New for 2015, registered Movember participants can opt to take the “MOVE” Challenge, where they pledge to move for thirty minutes a day, for the thirty days of November, or they can create other individualized or group “MOVE” challenges.  

Service members, and their respective units, are encouraged to register and form teams, and join the ‘TPA Challenge Network”, or make a donation to their favourite team, up until December 9 at 5pm, at  ca.movember.com

A group of me in TPS uniform with a woman and several other men in business suits holding an oversized cheque
The Divisional Policing Support Unit led the way in Movember donations last year, winning the Toronto Police Association challenge
TPS crest watermark