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Video: Watch Movember take shape on three local men in almost two minutes

It's December 1 and all those men who've been sporting facial fuzz in the name of charity for the past month should have gone clean shaven and returned to their more familiar looking selves.

The Belfast Telegraph enlisted three individuals who took part in the Friends of the Cancer Centre's ‘Tache for Cash' campaign.

Radiographers Barry O’Hara and Pat Shiels joined with hotel manager Brendan Kerr in ditching their razors for the campaign for men's health.

For the 30 days of November, the boys endured the quizzical looks from people, the questions of 'why?' from their loved ones, the all-round itchiness and the comfort of a good stroke of the chin for a think and all in aid of a very worthwhile cause.

Pat, 38 and from Desertmartin, said that while he was happy to take part he was glad to be able to get rid of the soup strainer.

"I am quite glad that the month is over and I can now shave," he said.

"It's been great fun though and my 'tache certainly raised a few eyebrows and attracted some stares, especially in the last few weeks when it started to really take hold. 

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"It was a great talking point among my patients, many of whom have prostate cancer, and when I explained why I was doing it I think it meant a lot to them. 

"When you see what prostate cancer patients have to go through, getting a few odd looks is a small price to pay to show my support. 

"If it also raises awareness and funds for Friends of the Cancer Centre, which plays a massive role in the work that we do in the Cancer Centre to support local cancer patients, then it was worth it.”


Day one for Barry.

Day one for Barry.

Barry at the half-way stage.

Barry at the half-way stage.

A handle-barred Barry at the end of the month.

A handle-barred Barry at the end of the month.

Day one for Pat.

Day one for Pat.

Pat at the half-way stage.

Pat at the half-way stage.

A transformed Pat.

A transformed Pat.

The usual on day one at work for Brendan.

The usual on day one at work for Brendan.

A touch of salt 'n' pepper developing for Brendan at the half way stage.

A touch of salt 'n' pepper developing for Brendan at the half way stage.

A grizzly Brendan on day 30.

A grizzly Brendan on day 30.


Day one for Barry.

All the money raised through the Friends' campaign goes to cancer services based in Northern Ireland.

Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre said: "Every day in Northern Ireland three men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and many of them will find themselves at the Cancer Centre for treatment.

"The good news is that the Cancer Centre is one of the leading hospitals in the world in the treatment of prostate cancer, and Friends of the Cancer Centre plays a really important part in this.

"We currently fund doctors and researchers in the Cancer Centre who specialise in prostate cancer, as well as funding equipment used in the direct treatment of patients."

She added: "We couldn’t do any of this without the support of the public and our ‘Tache for Cash campaign is a great way for people to have some fun when they’re fundraising and to raise awareness around prostate cancer and men’s health.

"As we’re a local charity, all the money from the campaign will stay in Northern Ireland and benefit patients locally.”

To find out more about the services offered or to donate, go to www.friendsofthecancercentre.com

With the rapid rise in beards, however, has the Movember campaign reached its peak?

The global campaign was set up in 2003 and has raised over £400million for projects on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

Last year, funds were down on previous campaigns.

Movember said that it was early days in terms of how much was raised this year, but over 500,000 people had signed up to its campaign.

And this year it also introduced a new initiative to encourage people to take part by getting more active in the month.

Jon Sim, head of business and community engagement at Movember said: "It’s been a big year and we’re humbled by the incredible efforts of the thousands of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, who have taken on the 30-day Movember commitment to help men live healthier, happier and longer, lives and generate funds and awareness along the way.

"It was also a significant year in that we introduced a new way to participate. MOVE, a 30-day commitment to get active – a challenge to make 30 MOVEs in 30 days for men’s health.

"It represented the first time men and women have been able to get involved without supporting the moustache, and offered something tangible for Mo Sistas.

"We smashed the targets we set ourselves and it’s been brilliant to see the Mo community embrace the MOVE challenge, in addition to the many who chose to grow a moustache, and look forward to seeing what we can do with this concept in the future."

He added: "We won’t know final figures on participation and fundraising for Movember 2015 until early next year, as we’ll continue to receive funds well into next year. However, over 500,000 people from around the world have already signed up at Movember.com to support the cause.”

Locally, however, the campaign provides a good opportunity for raising awareness of men's health issues.

In the Belfast Trust many staff took part in the main Movember campaign.

Bryan Nelson, co-director of public health said:  “While we are committed to raising awareness of men's health, Movember provides us with an excellent platform to spark conversations that can start to change the face of men’s health here in Belfast.”

‘Tache' for Cash participants

Barry O’Hara, 40, radiographer at the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital from Newtownabbey

“The radiotherapy department at the Cancer Centre treats approximately 300 people per day, with a large percentage of these patients being men with prostate cancer. Men having radiotherapy treatment may be required to come daily for anywhere up to 7½ weeks. As a team of therapy radiographers it’s very difficult not be affected by our patients and we develop great relationships with everyone we treat. To be able to do something on a personal level to show your support for them is a great thing, and that’s why I chose to take part in Friends of the Cancer Centre’s ‘Tache for Cash campaign. Friends of the Cancer Centre plays a vital role within the hospital and we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them, so growing a ‘tache is my way of saying thank you to them for the support they give us and our patients. It will no doubt raise a few eyebrows among patients, but if it gives us a fun way of starting a wider conversation around the issue of men’s health then it’s worth it.”

Pat Shiels, 38, radiographer at the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital from Desertmartin

“I specialise in a type of radiotherapy called brachytherapy which delivers radiation internally and is used to treat prostate cancer patients. We have made great strides in the treatment of prostate cancer locally and Northern Ireland is also leading the way in terms of world class research into new and more effective ways of treating men with the disease. We are preparing to introduce a new version of this prostate brachytherapy treatment to Northern Ireland next year, called High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy. For those who are suitable, this will reduce the overall number of treatments patient require meaning they have less visits to the City Hospital. This new service has been supported by Friends of the Cancer Centre and I wanted to show my support to our patients and to say thank you to the charity for the support they have given us. I also think it’s a fun way of raising awareness and generating discussion around a serious subject that many men still find difficult to talk about openly. I’ve grown a moustache for a few years and even won a competition for the best moustache within the Belfast Trust, so no pressure this year in the ‘Tache for Cash fundraiser.”

Brendan Kerr, 50, manager at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Carryduff and lives in Belfast

“Myself and 10 others from the Ivanhoe Hotel are taking part in Friends of the Cancer Centre’s ‘Tache for Cash campaign this year in support of our boss, whose brother was recently diagnosed with leukaemia and is receiving treatment at the Cancer Centre in Belfast. The charity is close to the family’s heart so when we came together as a team to decide what we could do to show our support, we knew that fundraising for Friends of the Cancer Centre was the best way to do it. The ‘Tache for cash campaign is a bit of fun and it will hopefully get our customers talking too. On a personal note, my family has been affected by cancer too and I lost my dad to lung cancer in 1999. My wife’s family has been deeply affected by it over the years and sadly her brother has just recently been diagnosed. Cancer is something that unfortunately affects so many people and as a team, we’re just glad that we are in a position to come together to get behind a charity that does so much to support local patients. It was important for us that any money we raised stayed in Northern Ireland and by supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre’s ‘Tache for Cash, we know that our money will be used to support local men facing this terrible disease.”

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