MARBLEHEAD — Matt Dolan is no stranger to facial hair, but for the first time in his life he’s decided to grow a legitimate mustache.
The 41-year-old Marblehead man is doing it for a good cause by participating in Movember.
It’s a movement in November each year to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. Thousands of men around the world are all growing outrageous mustaches in hopes of spreading the message.
Locally, there are dozens of men across the North Shore working to raise thousands toward the cause.
This is Dolan’s first year participating, and his handlebar-style ’stache is catching the attention of many around town, he said.
“You go into a restaurant or a coffee shop and run into people you know, and they just start cracking up,” said Dolan, the co-owner of Harborside Realty. “And they ask about the mustache.”
That is exactly the concept of Movember — to get people talking, he said. The motto of the movement is “changing the face of men’s health issues.”
“That is why I wanted to grow a big, noticeable mustache to draw attention and to spread the Movember message,” Dolan said.
A fundraiser will take place at The Landing Restaurant on Front Street in Marblehead on Wednesday at 8 p.m. to support Movember. Among other things, the restaurant will collect donations and sell fake ’staches.
Dolan was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2006 and thyroid cancer two years ago, which makes the issue even more meaningful for him. He was recruited by his doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his group has raised more than $1,000 so far, he said.
“It is important to spread the message not only to raise funds but to encourage people take men’s cancer issues seriously and to ask a doctor if you have any questions,” Dolan said. “In many cases, these cancers are completely treatable if detected early enough. That is the big Movember message, to take action because it could save your life.”
Peabody resident Sergei Daniel, 34, was clean-shaven his entire life before deciding for the first time to participate in Movember this year.
“My wife is a little creeped out,” he joked. “People are surprised I am participating, so that initial surprise is a conversation starter.”
He said he signed up to participate with about 50 people at his work. So far, the team has raised about $8,000, he said.
“I thought it was for a great cause,” Daniel said. “As men, we think we are immune to cancer. So Movember is really to build awareness and start a conversation on cancer and other men’s health issues.”
For Angelos Dovletoglou, 49, of Hamilton, this is also his first time growing a mustache. His choice of style?
He describes his facial hair as a “handlebar with a soul patch,” while his wife jokingly likes to call it a “Fu Manchu.” He is participating with a team through his company Epizyme, which develops drugs for cancer.
Like Dolan, he said he has received many surprised looks from people around town.
“The best part is knowing that we are raising money for research focusing on men’s health,” he said. “I enjoy the expressions on people’s faces when they see a mustache on my face for the first time.”
He said his family is supportive. His 18-year-old son —who is home from college — is also participating.
“It is just something fun, so I thought I would take part,” Chris Dovletoglou said. “It is for a good cause.”
For more information about the Movember movement, visit us.movember.com.