Are fire trucks in your area looking a little hairy this month? Rest assured, it’s all for a good cause!
Across the state, Fire Rescue Victoria firefighters are raising funds for Movember, with nine teams and 33 firefighters taking part in the First Responder Challenge.
Firefighters are growing, moving and gathering to raise funds for men’s health, competing with colleagues from across the country to see who can raise the most. For many firefighters, the cause is close to their hearts.
Eltham City firefighter and Movember team captain Vaughan Stott first participated in Movember 10 years ago after a family member battled prostate cancer.
Vaughan grew so attached to his mo over the years that it is now a permanent part of his look, with many firefighters at Eltham also sporting tashes year-round.
The Eltham team raises funds and awareness throughout the month, with Vaughan donning his favourite tux for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Motorcycle Ride.
“It’s so important to me to remind all men to be proactive with their physical and mental health,” Vaughan says. “I’ve even started taking some of my own advice and seeing my GP once a year for a check-up.”
One person who knows how much of a difference a doctor’s visit can make is Greensborough firefighter Adam Shaw, who overcame testicular cancer in 2013 and 2018.
“The first doctor I saw told me that I was fine, but something still didn’t feel right. I followed my instincts and saw a second doctor and three days later was diagnosed,” Adam says.
While the diagnosis was a shock, the cancer was successfully treated through surgery and chemotherapy and today Adam is thriving with two children and a successful career.
“Don’t be afraid to follow an instinct and talk to someone. Don’t be embarrassed or scared to talk about it. I’m here today because I did just that.”
Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said FRV encouraged all staff members to take care of their physical and mental health.
“As emergency service workers, it is crucial that we take care of ourselves in order to help others,” Commissioner Block said.
“I’m proud that our firefighters are joining their emergency service colleagues across the country in their quest to stop men dying from suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.”
“With just over a week left to go in the challenge, I wish all Movember participants well with their final push – including firefighters and community members – and encourage people to get behind this worthwhile cause.”
Reviewed 18 November 2021