A great idea, right under their noses

These sixteen CIUSSS managers are growing facial care to raise money for prostate cancer research at the JGH
These sixteen CIUSSS managers are growing facial care to raise money for prostate cancer research at the JGH

A group of men from the management team of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal left their razors in their drawers for a month to support prostate cancer research and care.

They grew moustaches and beards to raise money for the Urology Department at the Jewish General Hospital—specifically, to support research and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

The project got under way when André Poitras, Clinical-Administrative Coordinator, Divisions of Emergency, Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and Cardiovascular Care, decided to grow a moustache to raise money for prostate cancer, even if it meant shaving off his beard and starting from scratch. After he told his colleagues, Dominic Labranche, Clinical-Administrative Coordinator, Dialysis, Mother-Child and Neuroscience, and Serge Cloutier, Associate Director of Nursing, what he was planning, they agreed to participate, as well.

“Serge then brought it to the next level by reaching out to the JGH Foundation,” says a beaming Mr. Poitras. “Dan Gabay (the CIUSSS’s Assistant Executive Director) got word of this initiative and reached out to get more guys to join in. Now we’re 16 men growing moustaches for this great cause.”

The initial plan was to raise $1,000, but the project took on a life of its own, and in just a few days, they had raised close to $5,000. Now their ambitious goal has risen to $25,000.

The first three men on board could not be more excited to see how quickly everything grew, including their moustaches. “It’s itchy, it’s uncomfortable under my mask and eating is weird,” says Mr. Labranche, laughing. “The last time I had facial hair, I was about 30 years old.”

“It’s such a fun team-building experience,” adds Mr. Cloutier.  “It’s a great distraction from COVID-19 and the cyber-intrusion.”

While these men may have taken a light-hearted approach to their facial hair, the reason behind it is serious:  Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an average of 64 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every day.

Mr. Labranche’s brother-in-law had prostate cancer and so did a member of Mr. Cloutier’s family. For Elliott Silverman, Director of Logistics, it’s also personal. “I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer 25 years ago, so I’m doing this in his memory,” he says.

“Men’s health problems are rarely discussed. These are our fathers, brothers, sons, friends and colleagues,” says John Marsala, Nurse Manager- AZRIELI Heart Centre, CVU-CVICU K-2

“ I’m participating, because despite the awareness in recent years about this subject in campaigns such as Movember, I’ve been a witness to it. This year, someone close to me was touched by a prostate disease, and suddenly I realized that it’s having an impact on daily life,” says Tung Tran, Director of the CIUSSS’s Mental Health and Addiction Program. “I hope that research in this area will make a difference for all of the men around me, as well as for myself.”

Neil Michaels, Emergency measures, civil security and global security coordinator, adds, “I’m doing this to protect our future generations with research into finding a cure. We’re all family and we have to work together for one another.”

The men would like to do this again next year, but with more planning. “We hope to have a recruitment period, even more participants and maybe even raise more money,” says Mr. Cloutier.

You can donate through the JGH Foundation.