(Julio Diaz/The Silhouttee)

HAMILTON (CUP) — Raising money for men’s health is an annual November initiative for athletes at McMaster University. As the end of this year’s Movember campaign nears, Marauder sports teams have quietly raised over $25,000.

The McMaster men’s baseball team and men’s rugby team spearheaded this year’s fundraising efforts, with over $11,900 and $9,600 in donations respectively.

In addition, the McMaster men’s volleyball team and wrestling teams fundraised over $3,600 and $1,100 each. Other participating teams include the McMaster rowing team, swimming team and men’s soccer team.

The McMaster teams primarily fundraise through the Movember campaign website.

Established in 2003, the international campaign looks to allocate resources to various areas of men’s health such as mental health, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Over $19 million was donated to men’s health projects in Canada just last year.

Though growing a mustache and fundraising for Movember is a tradition amongst McMaster sports teams, the movement has not lost its meaning to repeat participants such as Marco Dilaudo, Maclean Van Raay, Josh Kalmain and Aiden Muldoon.

“We just want to give back to the community and continue to support those that have been supportive to us as athletes, especially here at McMaster and abroad, while also paying respect to those that are fighting everyday to continue – whether that’s against cancer or mental health,” explained Marco Dilaudo, the first baseman for the McMaster men’s baseball team.

In addition to leading the baseball team’s fundraising efforts with over $2,000 raised individually, Dilaudo plans to bike 300 kilometres over the month of November – an opportunity for Dilaudo to embrace a challenge and support others that are battling illnesses in their day-to-day lives.

“Everyone struggles with mental health in some way. Being an athlete, it becomes really stressful trying to balance school and athletics. The mental health part of it definitely plays a factor [wanting to raise money] as well,” said Maclean Van Raay, a third-year student and middle infielder for the McMaster men’s baseball team.

For some McMaster athletes, raising money and awareness is especially important because of personal experiences with loved ones. Participating for his fifth in a row, Aiden Muldoon became particularly connected to the cause after experiencing the loss of his father to cancer in 2021.

“It’s nice to know that there’s a movement for something that’s affected me so dearly [and] that it’s a movement that we can progress towards as a team. I know guys are thinking about other [teammates] that have also lost people to different illnesses. When we’re raising money, it’s good to know that it’s with a direction,” explained Muldoon, a fullback for the McMaster men’s rugby team.

As club captain for the McMaster men’s rugby, Muldoon organizes various fundraising events with other members of the team. The rugby team held a Touch 7s Rugby Tournament that took place earlier this month where all profits from the event were donated to Movember. In the past, the team has also welcomed guest speakers or held raffles to raise money.

“For us, as much as it is a serious issue, we do like to make fun of each other’s mustaches a little bit … it’s another way to encourage one another to not only support the cause but also support each other in raising money for a good cause,” said Kalmin, a third-year student and pitcher for the baseball team.

Along with raising awareness and fundraising, Movember is a chance for McMaster teams to bond and boost team morale. The competitive aspect that McMaster athletes bring into sport also translates into friendly competition to raise the most money.

To learn more about the Movember movement, visit their website. To donate or keep up with the fundraising teams, visit their Instagram pages or link here.

This article was shared via the CUP Wire, maintained by the Canadian University Press.