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Brock University Begins Fundraising Campaign For Rugby Team

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Their faces raised awareness and their actions raised money for an important cause close to their hearts.

The Brock men’s rugby team raised more than $10,000 — crushing their initial $2,500 goal — for the 2022 Movember fundraising campaign.

Aiming to make a difference in mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer, the men’s rugby team annually participates in the November-long fundraiser.

In Canada, three out of four deaths by suicide are men. It is the second leading cause of death among Canadian males aged 15 to 44 years old, according to the Movember campaign. Testicular cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in young Canadian men as one in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Growing facial hair for the cause was just the start as the Badgers tackled Movember like never before.

“We’ve done campaigns the last few years, but nothing to this magnitude,” said Caleb Willmets, a second-year Social Sciences student from Elora, Ont. “I think the biggest motivator for us was how many people would benefit from our efforts. Knowing that we helped so many people who are struggling with mental health, cancer diagnoses and other avenues of men’s health is an unbelievable feeling.”

The team smashed four fundraising goals, consistently raising the stakes by facing fun challenges at each milestone of $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 throughout the month, including bleaching their moustaches, participating in a team polar dip and shaving their heads.

The team of 40 student-athletes quickly reached their first goal and were soon bleaching their moustaches at the $5,000 mark within their first eight days.

“We also handed out pamphlets raising awareness about the Movember foundation outside of Bob Davis Gymnasium during volleyball games and ran a T-shirt sale through the University,” said Willmets. “Personally, this cause is something I hold very close to home. Having lost friends and loved ones to mental health complications, I really aimed to do something special this year and I think everyone who is part of our team community thinks we accomplished that.”

At the achievement of $7,500, the team chose a polar plunge in Lake Ontario to signify cold water therapy’s positive effects on mental health. Cold water immersion has shown to boost mood enhancing hormones, according to medical experts.

“The biggest takeaway for us was how easy it is to make a difference. We have a huge community within the school, and specifically the rugby team, and all it takes is a few like-minded people to put something special together,” Willmets said. “On top of helping so many people, this was a great opportunity for us to grow closer as a group and doing events like the polar dip, moustache dying and getting DIY buzzcuts really helped us build our team chemistry. We have an unbelievable team culture that I think really solidifies how special our program is.”