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Terrace top officials bristle at ‘Movember’ men’s health challenge

Best mustache in Terrace contest to promote cancer screening
Left to right: Aaron Callaghan, Chris Simms, John Klie, Kris Boland and Terry Gillespie. (Michael Bramadat-Willcock/Terrace Standard)

Amid an increase in cancer rates coming out of the pandemic, a group of Terrace public servants are raising awareness about the importance of men’s health this ‘Movember’ through a friendly mustache competition that both the RCMP and the City of Terrace’s fire department fully expect to win.

Movember is a yearly charity event involving the growing of moustaches during November to support men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide. The group of Terrace “Mo Bros” have a website set up where anyone can get involved and donate.

Northern Health administrator Chris Simms said cancer rates have risen and the thinking is that people have forgone screening during the height of the pandemic, either because it might not have been convenient or because the pre-COVID opportunities weren’t there.

“Now we’re on the other end of the pandemic, if you will, we’re seeing the outcome for people, that some of the cancers are there and they’re a little bit more advanced than what we would normally see,” Simms said.

“For me that’s a message I think this community, that we all care about, needs to hear. We need people to be screened and we want people to get that opportunity to check in with their health.”

While the Movember movement started around men’s cancer, Simms stressed there is an important mental health and men’s wellness component to it, too.

“We are seeing on the other side of the pandemic, for a number of reasons, increased presentations of mental health challenges that people are having.

“If we can bring awareness to this and allow people that opportunity to have conversations with friends, family loved ones and clinicians, I think we’ll all be in a better place because of it.”

Terrace Fire Chief John Klie shaved his already well-established mustache for the Movember competition.

“Over the many years that they’ve been studying it, firefighters have found out that we’re susceptible to cancer just from our occupation and jobs that we do,” Klie said.

“I do screening every year and my family doctor is very good at following those screening tests with us. Every year we encourage firefighters to get tested, it’s not mandated but I’ve had a few peers that have had cancer so it just makes it even more important to me.”

The competition is “all in good fun” but Klie aims to best Terrace RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Terry Gillespie, who recently transferred to Terrace from Smithers and said he will “absolutely” be encouraging his officers to get involved.

Aaron Callaghan, the newly-minted superintendent of schools at Coast Mountains School District 82, said screening has been important for him over the last year.

“It’s an opportunity to come together with this group to promote men’s awareness and cancer awareness and mental health… to have a little fun and get the word out,” said Callaghan

“I think of all of our roles in supporting the men in our lives — whether they’re friends or family, around mental health issues, especially — and seeking support where necessary.”

Kris Boland, the City of Terrace’s manager, said it was a “no brainier” for him to jump on board with Simms’ Movember initiative.

“On a personal note, I have had cancer screenings before but it’s a good reminder that I’m due for another one. My dad had cancer and I lost him due to the complications after that.

“My stepdad recently just survived prostate cancer treatment and that’s because he went and got screening, which I’m really grateful for.”

The issue is personal for Simms, too, having lost his father to cancer. Simms hopes men in the community will join the movement to reduce stigma around men accessing healthcare, adding that anyone who wants can join.

You can check out their website to join the team and donate to support men’s health in Terrace.


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