Wareham officer looks to change face of men’s health
The mustache: what was once a fashionable staple on the upper lips of police officers has largely fallen out of favor. But Wareham patrol officer George Dionne is launching a campaign to bring it back - for one month at least - all in the hope of raising funds and awareness for men’s health.
For the month of November, Dionne is challenging fellow police, first responders and other men in town to grow mustaches for the Movember Foundation. Founded in 2003, the group has raised money for research and awareness related to prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
By growing a mustache, Dionne said the idea is to spark conversations on men’s health – even if the end result is less than flattering.
“They’re associated with old-school policing so it kind of makes sense,” said Dionne. “I look horrible with a mustache, but when you start growing one people ask questions and it’s a chance to explain why I’m doing it.”
Dionne said for many men there’s a stigma when it comes to discussing mental and physical health. Groups such as the Movember Foundation work to erase that notion.
“It’s definitely something that’s close to my heart,” said Dionne, whose father-in-law beat prostate cancer. “Prostate cancer and testicular cancer are tough things for men to talk about because it deals with virility. We need to make those issues that men are more comfortable talking about.”
For Dionne, this is his third year in a row participating in the fundraiser. His fundraising goals have increased steadily. Dionne originally set a goal of $100 and upped it to $250 in 2015. Now, he plans to raise $1,000. People are encouraged to pledge money, either for him personally or Team Wareham, throughout the month.
Those who want to get involved should be clean shaven on Nov. 1 and then let their mustache grow throughout the month. While some people participate in “No Shave November,” a similar event that calls for not shaving at all, Dionne stressed that the mustache is a conversation starter.
“Beards and goatees don’t often get the same attention that a mustache does,” said Dionne.
To make a donation to Dionne or Team Wareham, visit http://mobro.co/rockisgeorge or http://moteam.co/team-wareham. For more information on the Movember Foundation, visit https://us.movember.com/.
Dionne encouraged all to donate if possible. Every dollar helps, he said.
“I hope everyone can give a little bit,” he said. “If everyone in Wareham donated a dollar, that’s $20,000 right there.”