Membertou men's group commits to helping

·3 min read

SYDNEY — The Membertou Men’s Society is hoping its Movember campaign will make a difference in the region by donating the money they raise to the cancer centre at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

“I’ve known a lot of people within our community who have passed away from cancer," said Shane Paul, campaign co-ordinator.

He says everyone across Cape Breton knows someone who has been affected by cancer and they hope to raise $5,000 next month for the centre.

A 2018 Nova Scotia cancer incidence study shows that cancer rates among men in Kings, Hants and Cape Breton counties are higher than the provincial average. It also shows cancer rates in women and men are higher than the provincial average in Queens and Cape Breton counties.

So the society wants to help.

“I know that every red cent that they receive will be greatly appreciated,” said Paul.

The men’s group is planning its campaign around ending the stigma of getting a prostate exam while being there for one another.

Paul, 45, is hoping to challenge men across the region to register with the campaign. It's $25 to register, with $20 going directly to the donation and $5 going to a general pot for prizes to encourage participation.

Movember is an annual event during the month of November which raises awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's suicide.

The Movember campaign is generally marked by men shaving their facial hair at the start of the month and growing a moustache to show support for men’s wellness. Paul says they plan to have men submit photos of their ‘stache weekly and to vote on the best one.

“We are a support group, but we are also a brotherhood,” said Paul.

The men’s society started in earnest about three years ago when members of the community noticed men lacked a support group of their own.

John Bonham Paul says the group formed as a grassroots way to challenge men in the community to become more culturally aware.

“We want to rebuild men and help them get to a place where they can be better supports to their family and their community,” said the 42-year-old.

He’s been around since the start and says the society members are committed to being there for one another. They talk about everything from navigating child services as a father to mental health and addictions.

Bonham Paul is the group's secretary/treasurer and says the society is a place where men can be vulnerable and talk openly about issues.

And he knows many men are shy and embarrassed about the prostate exam, but Bonham Paul wanted men to know it's necessary.

“We definitely need people to lead the way and show men it's OK to go get these tests done in order to live a good healthy life,” said Bonham Paul.

The society recently hosted a golf tournament to support youth in the community by raising money for sports gear for families in need. Bonham Paul says they’ll continue to come up with new campaign ideas.

“Our goal is to always keep trying to reach out to other men who may be suffering and let them know that there is a group here and we support you,” said Bonham Paul.

Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post