University of Calgary

Mustache March for cancer

April 6, 2009

Biology and Chemistry grow together towards finding a cure

Bryan Koivisto (left)and Francis LeBlanc from the chemistry department. Koivisto is one of the pioneers of the event.

Bryan Koivisto (left) and Francis LeBlanc from the chemistry department display the results of Mustache March. Koivisto is one of the pioneers of the event.
You may have noticed a rather large number of people sporting facial hair this past month. It has nothing to do with hockey playoffs and everything to do with what’s known as Mustache March. It’s a friendly competition between two Faculty of Science departments, chemistry and biological sciences, which inspired more than 250 people to either grow or sponsor a mustache.

As March approached, Kiyoshi Robson, a chemistry grad student, along with chemistry post docs Richard Burford and Bryan Koivisto, decided to legitimize their new facial hair by turning the competition into a fundraiser for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The campaign raised more than $6,400 that will go to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Alberta Cancer Foundation).

“We issued a challenge to the Biological Sciences grad students to see which department could raise more money for charity,”  says Robson.

Warren Fitch, technical support staff manager, Department of Biological Sciences.
Warren Fitch, technical support staff manager, Biological Sciences, was the overall winner for best mustache.
Monica Faria, a biological sciences grad student, and Koivisto approached the Alberta Cancer Foundation to make this an official fundraiser for breast and prostate cancer research. The first Mustache March was born and the shaving stopped.

The event culminated on April Fools’ Day with a mustache exhibition and judging competition. It was hosted by the Last Defense Lounge and supported through an interdepartmental grant from the Grad Students’ Association. The mustaches ranged from colourful and wacky to vintage and bold.

The Biological Sciences Department won, by raising $1,000 more than the chemistry department. but all participants note that the real winner is the ‘fight against cancer’.

“The month-long event did more than bring awareness and money to fight cancer; it instilled a strong sense of community within and between the biological sciences and chemistry departments,” says Koivisto. “Interdepartmental events have been limited, but with such a successfully cooperative event and a renewed enthusiasm, similar events are likely to be repeated for many years to come.”

Bookmark and Share