Tuesday, November 16, 2010

sean making headlines for movember!

One of Us: Jacksonville man shaved his stache to grow charity cash
By Charlie Patton

Sean Collins believes his face looks better with a beard.

“I feel naked when I don’t have it,” said Collins, the founder of Jacksonville’s Beardsmith Society.

But this month the 26-year-old Collins took a razor in hand and publicly removed all his facial hair, not just his beard, but his mustache as well.

He did it for a good cause: Movember, a fundraising campaign for men’s health organizations that was started in Australia in 2003. Mo is Australian slang for mustache.

By last year, Movember had grown to the point where about $42 million was raised worldwide. Funds raised in the U.S. went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and to the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong program.

Collins did his best to launch a Jacksonville Movember initiative last year. But as far as he could determine, there were only about 20 participants who raised about $1,200 locally, although other individuals in Jacksonville could have been participating without his knowledge.

This year, he set up a Jacksonville website, www.movemberjax.com, on which 169 people have registered. Many are part of teams such as Collins’ Jax Stache team, which has about 60 members. So far, giving by those involved in the Movemberjax group totals more than $5,000.

“We’ve tried to make it more about community involvement,” Collins said.

The gimmick behind Movember is that participants agree to go clean shaven at the beginning of the month and then regrow a mustache during the month. Some women participate by wearing fake mustaches at Movember events. The idea is to make the mustache the same sort of potent symbol that the pink ribbon has become in the battle against breast cancer.

Collins, a University of North Florida graduate who is a website designer and developer, said the work involved in organizing Movember might well have left him completely hairless without the help of his girlfriend, Sarah Butsch.

“If it weren’t for her, I would probably have pulled out all the hair on my head,” he said.

Among the events still on the Movember calendar are a Movember bake sale during Saturday’s Riverside WineFest (6 to 9 p.m. in Five Points); Sunday’s Jax Rollergirls Brawl for Justice at 6:30 p.m. at the Mandarin Skate Station; and a free party from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, at Intuition Ale Works Tap Room at 720 King St.

Movember will wrap up Saturday, Dec. 4, with a grooming party at 5 p.m. at Hawthorn Salon in Five Points followed by an awards party at 7 p.m. at The Loft, 925 King St.

charlie.patton@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4413

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