Remembrance Day and my parent’s anniversary come in quick succession. Whenever the Newfoundland Regiment Band played during the Ceremony of Remembrance at Memorial University today, tears flowed down my cheek. I tried to wipe them off discretely because I was sitting next to my boss but eventually I just let them go. Memorial University of Newfoundland was founded as a living memorial to all the Newfoundland soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in World War I. Each year, the university gathers to pause in remembrance in a ceremony that touches me deeply every time.
As the salt water slid silently down to my jaw and down onto my chest, I was grieving for all the families who’d lost loved ones then and today. I cried for the suffering that war inflicts on those who fight it and those who survive it. I was heartbroken for my mom who, on Monday, will face a second wedding anniversary without my dad. I was sad because I’ll likely be landing on Antarctica on the day my dad died and I have been missed him terribly the last while.
I always wanted to climb Mount Vinson in my dad’s honour. I do appreciate a good play in words and having climbed Pumori, Everest’s Daughter, in my mom’s honour, I wanted to climb Mount Vin-son in my dad’s. As my dad’s illness progressed, I began to wonder if my dad would survive prostate cancer long enough for me to raise the money to get to Antarctica. As the fundraising was taking longer than I hoped, I took stock and decided to climb Mount Elbrus in July of 2009 for my dad instead of Vinson so I could share the climb with him.
It’s November, the month of Remembrance in Canada. It’s the month of my parents’ wedding anniversary, and it’s also Movember. The month in Canada where men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. My brother is one of those men. My sister-in-law, Shawn recently sent out an email about Mike’s Movember:
I say it’s sadly that time of year again for several reasons. Sadly, I must endure 30 days of looking at this thing called the “mo”…the “crumb catcher”…the “soup strainer”…the “stache”. Sadly, I am reminded that every “mo bro” who has committed to growing a moustache this November is helping to raise awareness for this deadly disease. Sadly, on average 70 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every day and 11 Canadian men will die from prostate cancer every day…Sadly like so many others I knew one of those men.
Mike’s dad Heinz passed away from prostate cancer (he was 67)…so did his dad, Alois…and his brother, Joseph.
So even though I am not a moustache enthusiast, I’m proud that Mike is sporting a new hairy growth this month. I am hopeful that he, among all the other “mo’s” will be seen as a walking billboard for prostate cancer prevention. As a result of the work we can do…I hope by the time my son is able to grow his own stache, he won’t have to…
So I will provide a link if you wish to make a contribution on behalf of Mike’s “mo”. In Canada, 86 percent of funds raised for Movember will go directly to Prostate Cancer Canada programs. Ten percent cover fundraising costs, two percent go to men’s health education and another two percent cover admin fees. Just click on the link below and you can donate directly on-line.
Other ways to give your support that are just as appreciated…Grow a Mo!..or just tell
Mike how good he looks in his!
My brother will be shaving off his “mo” just as I start flying south to begin the climb. If you are so inclined, please support my brother’s efforts using the link above.
I didn’t get to dedicate my climb of Mount Vinson to my dad as I’d wanted to…but I will keep him very close in my thoughts, heart, and mind as I do. I’ll also be thinking of the rest of my family as we make our way through another tough November and December-a time of the year where we all miss Heinz so much.