The North Saanich Fire Department’s fundraising team is in third place in the nation-wide Great Canadian Fire Challenge, raising money for Movember, a global initiative tackling men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer. (Courtesy of Eric Keating)

The North Saanich Fire Department’s fundraising team is in third place in the nation-wide Great Canadian Fire Challenge, raising money for Movember, a global initiative tackling men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer. (Courtesy of Eric Keating)

North Saanich firefighters keep pace with major Canadian cities in Movember fundraising challenge

Local department in top three with hopes of raising $20,000 before the month’s end

The North Saanich Fire Department is a hair away from being number one in a national moustache-based fundraising competition.

A team of 24 firefighters have put down their razors for the month as they fundraise for Movember, a global initiative raising money and awareness for men’s mental health, suicide prevention and prostate and testicular cancer.

READ ALSO: Welcome to mustache season: Movember begins

The department has already raised more than $10,600 and has beat out 188 other teams for third place in a national Movember fundraising competition called the Great Canadian Fire Challenge.

The North Saanich Fire Department, which serves 11,200 people, is one of top three fundraising teams (with the Toronto and Edmonton fire departments) and is even pulling ahead of the Calgary Fire Department, which serves a community of 1.3 million.

“It’s incredible. We really are motivated because we’ve had such a good response,” says team captain Eric Keating. “If we could be number one, that would be the ultimate goal.”

Keating says rallying around Movember was a no-brainer for the 40-person fire department, which is primarily volunteer-based.

“Everybody, on some level is affected by [mental health],” he says. “Certainly with some of the things the fire crew is subject to, it’s possibly a little more so because we are constantly thrown into traumatic situations…even some of the calls we go to are because of people suffering mental health issues.

“In a group of 40 people, whether it’s cancer or mental health, it’s affected everyone.”

READ ALSO: Chicken Run: Birds on the loose in North Saanich

With a little more than a week left in the competition, the North Saanich team is putting their fundraising foot to the pedal in hopes of raising a grand total of $15,000 or even $20,000 and coming out on top of the competition.

Keating knows it’s a huge goal, but with the community’s support, he says the team will shoot for the stars. “No matter how big or small the community is, people can really make a difference.”

Donate to the North Saanich Fire Department team at movember.com.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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