Priests in Movember challenge

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Peterborough Examiner

Thursday, November 1, 2012 3:22:06 EDT AM

By Galen Eagle, Peterborough Examiner

Two local Catholic priests have challenged each other to a grow-off as Movember officially kicked off Thursday.

Rev. Bill Maloney, the 55-year-old priest of St. Anne’s Church on Barnardo Ave., has the edge in experience, having sported a Fu Manchu for nearly 38 years.

“I started growing my first mustache in 1975,” he said.

But newcomer Rev. Jerry Tavares, a 31-year-old who joined the St. Alphonsus Church parish on Clonsilla Ave. in February, said growing facial hair is in his genes.

“I try to be clean shaven, but I can grow a beard pretty quickly. I have a Mediterranean background, so it grows easily,” he said.

Maloney said he and his male parishioners are going to grow hardier, more fulsome mustaches than those at St. Alphonsus during the month-long fundraiser for prostate cancer.

“We’re going to mop the floor with them,” Maloney promised.

Challenge accepted, Tavares vowed.

“I think we can take them. I certainly have the support of my parish here,” he laughed. “It’s in good fun, to bring awareness to something that doesn’t get talked about very much.”

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. These men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

Shish-Kabob Hut owner Don Vassiliadis, one of the biggest Movember advocates in the city’s downtown, said he’s going to have a late start on the mustache growing this year.

Currently the coach of the undefeated Kinsmen Minor Football League’s junior Chargers, Vassiliadis said he’s not going to jeopardize the team’s championship game Saturday by shaving his playoff beard prematurely.

“I’m not shaving because I think it’s bad luck. I’m shaving right after the game. Last year I shaved before the game and we lost the championship,” Vassiliadis said.

The restaurant will once again take part in supporting local Movember campaigns, Vassiliadis said. Last year the Peterborough EMS paramedics brought in $6,000 during a fundraiser at the Shish-Kabob Hut.

Despite his anticipated late start to the growing competition, Vassiliadis promised to be sporting one of the finest mustaches downtown come Nov. 30, when the national campaign officially ends and men across the country tally their totals and shave their soup strainers. (Unless, that is, some grow to like them).

“As a Greek, I’m not worried about growing my hair. It comes naturally,” Vassiliadis said. “Garlic and ouzo brings in that hair pretty good.”

At City Hall, councillors Dean Pappas, Keith Riel and Dean Pappas sported the mustaches last year. Pappas, who will be doing it again this year, said in addition to raising money, the national campaign does succeed in getting the word out about men’s health.

“It really does raise the awareness of the issue,” he said. “Everybody asks you about it all the time … you are wearing your support on your face.”

The Peterborough Lakefield Molice team is returning for a fourth year; the group of officers was one of the first teams in the city to embrace the cause.

The Peterborough Posse, a team from the YMCA, is also returning. Team captain Scott Arnold, 31, said he’s never had much luck growing facial hair and joked that he might have to take performance-enhancing drugs to compete.

“At the end of the month, we’ll have to see when the drug tests come back,” he said. “Last year I cheated a little bit, got a head start. This year I’m going fresh, hopefully you’ll be able to see my mustache. I think shaving a lot leading up to the event helps it grow.”

Peterborough EMS paramedics will also return to the fundraiser with their team — 4911 Momedics.

“It all helps,” paramedic Adam Dennis said. “It affects a lot of men and it’s a good cause.”

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