Grafton business makes Movember move
A FRESHLY-shaven face is the only giveaway so far that GJ Gardiner's Micah Middelbosch has taken up the Movember challenge.
The Grafton franchise owner, and three of his staff, will spend the next month cultivating their facial hair while raising money for the annual men's health campaign.
And in joining more than 85 GJ Gardner Homes franchises across Australia in an effort to raise a total of $100,000 for the movement, they are part of the biggest corporate team ever to support the fundraising event.
Mr Middelbosch said their contribution would support projects funded by the Movember Foundation, which focus on suicide prevention and prostate and testicular cancer.
"This is a cause that is extremely close to our hearts and we have seen both some of our construction contractors and staff from our office struggle with the pressures of modern day living," he said.
"The construction industry is an extremely fast-paced and demanding environment these days and if these pressures are compounded by other personal issues like relationship breakdowns or financial hardship, this can have a devastating effect on workers.
"The industry is male-dominated and has traditionally had a macho culture, where workers weren't encouraged to talk about issues that were impacting them."
In fact, research undertaken by Deakin University for organisation MATES in Construction shows construction workers are more than twice as likely to suicide as other people in Australia, representing an average of 182 deaths per year, or one suicide every second day.
"The Movember Foundation does an amazing job of encouraging men to talk about mental and physical health issues with their mates and colleagues and to seek help if they need it," Mr Middelbosch said.
"That's why this year four of our staff are growing a mo and the whole team is getting behind them to support this great cause.
"The Movember Foundation creates that awareness among our contractors that it's okay to talk about issues that might be affecting them and it also makes us stop and take the time to have a conversation with them, delve a little deeper and check if they are really okay."
The Movember Foundation was founded in Australia in 2003 and is now a global organisation across 21 countries, raising $770 million since its inception and funding more than 1,200 projects worldwide focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention.
Locals can donate to the GJ Gardner team on their foundation page.