Local teacher raises more than $3,000 for men’s health

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An Okotoks high school teacher achieved more than a styling moustache during the month of November.

Foothills Composite High School welding teacher Virgil Green participated in Movember this past month, growing out a moustache in a campaign to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.

He had a goal of $3,000 and managed to pull in $3,350 as of Dec. 5. Donations can still be made in Green’s name through the Movember website until Dec. 7.

“It’s gone really well actually,” said Green.

The Movember used to be a larger event at the Comp, this year it was just Green and some students he convinced to grow out their facial hair.

“I seem to be the lone wolf on staff who could get permission from his wife,” said Green. “But we do have quite a few of the high school guys out there sporting little ‘staches.”

It’s not just his current students who participated. Green said many alumni donated to his Movember page. He set up the site and sent out some text messages about the campaign, and had raised more than $1,500 within four hours, he said.

“I had a lot of support from the kids who are out in the workforce who still hold on to that desire to do good in the world,” said Green. “It was awesome, so many of my trades kids, lots of my welders, it’s part of who they are to want to give. It was really well done, and I was really proud of my kids and the support I received.”

He said it means more than just raising money for him. The moustache also provides him a platform to speak to his young male students openly about their health and men’s issues.

“Money is a nice sideline, but the fact I’m getting young guys talking about their health and taking care of themselves is way more important,” said Green.

He said he appreciates the fact Movember branched out in the last five years to include all aspects of men’s health, rather than focusing specifically on prostate and testicular cancer. Now, a lot of the focus is on mental health and other issues, he said.

For Green, it’s the chance to talk about everything from depression and suicide to the dangers of Fentanyl, as well as typical men’s issues, he said.

“It’s an opportunity for me, is really what it is, to continue to educate my young men,” he said.

According to the Movember Foundation, some years are stronger than others and though it wasn’t as large this year, the movement has still raised a total of $839 million globally since it began in Australia in 2003.

This is the tenth year Movember has run in Canada, and there were more than 55,000 people registered for the campaign. The total donations won’t be calculated until after Dec. 7, but the foundation has raised more than $200,000 in Canada as of Dec. 4.

For more information or to donate to Green’s campaign, visit www.movember.com

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