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Students doing some hair-raising fundraising

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Half of them have yet to sprout their first bits of peach fuzz while the other half doesn’t have the necessary hormones.

Still, that’s not been enough to stop students at George Waters Middle School from having a bit of hair-raising fun and jumping on the international Movember campaign bandwagon to raise money for men’s health awareness.

For the last three years, the school has designated each Monday in November as Movember Monday, selling fake moustaches for 25 or 50 cents a pop to support prostate cancer research and other men’s health initiatives.

"I want to spread the word," said Meghan Fast, the unlikely Grade 7 student rallying students around the campaign at a school assembly last week.

"I want as many people involved as I can to make a bigger change."

Started in Australia in 2003, the ubiquitous campaign encourages men to grow out their moustaches throughout November in an attempt to spark conversation about men’s health, an issue that is often ignored.

The campaign has since spread to 24 countries, involving more than one-million people and has raised more than $300 million.

George Waters has raised more than $200 since joining.

Being philanthropic is one of the school’s three main philosophies, technology teacher Carmen Bonnici said, pointing to the school’s food drives and anti-bullying campaigns.

"It’s a big push for us," he said

"We want them to ask themselves ‘What’s my role today? Make someone’s day better.’"

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to statistics.

Bonnici, along with a group of five teachers, started the campaign in the hopes of getting their students to start health conversations with their fathers.

Bonnici said his own father died from cancer that went undetected because he didn’t regularly visit his doctor.

"Most men just don’t like going to the doctor," he said.

"We want the kids going home and saying to dad ‘I want you to get checked up.’

"To me, it’s a big deal."

The students’ efforts aren’t going unnoticed, said Jeff Palson, co-chair of Movember Winnipeg.

"Twenty-five cents at a time, they’re raising very important money," said Palson, who lives in West Kildonan.

Movember can contribute much of its success to how the campaign has caught on with young adults. But the campaign’s future depends on getting even younger generations involved, Palson said

"For them to be this passionate is incredible," he said.

"They’re the driving force for other schools to do little things to help as well. Every little bit counts."

To contribute to the George Waters campaign, visit http://ca.movember.com/mospace/5949021.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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