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Team Keele are Fan-Tash-Tic

Over £5000 raised. Read more

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Students at Keele University have smashed their donations targets towards the Movember charity by raising thousands of pounds towards the campaign that focuses on raising awareness of men’s mental health, prostate and testicular cancer. The combination of their online and cash donations total £5355.80 to date with many more donations flooding in daily from students, sports teams, societies and the local community.

A range of student led groups partook in the campaign ranging from the Keele British Sign Language society to Men’s Hockey. Fundraisers have been organised as teams and by individuals who took in upon themselves to make a difference in our fight against mental health. Masters student Nathan Hargreaves (pictured below) challenged himself to swim sixty lengths of a 1,500 metre pool everyday totalling an impressive 45,000 metres through November. The Club Captain of the Men’s Rugby team raised an impressive £405 in memory of his oldest friend Mathieu.

The Athletic Union (AU) are keen to be at the forefront of the fundraising activities in particularly during Movember - with the majority of the teams sporting their new moustaches across campus. The Men’s Rugby team are renowned for their charitable efforts towards Movember, with the charity secretary Richard Hall stating that this year has been one of the best yet with the team raising over £3000 through online donations. Richard states: “We’re not stopped yet though – we have plans to raise further money through the sales of our naked calendar that will be on sale soon”. The charity calendar has become a much anticipated staple in the AU’s Movember activities and we look forward to seeing the creativity of the team’s photoshoot. The Netball and Men’s Football teams collaborated to host a stall during one of the Athletic Union social evenings at the Student’s Union. They raised over £200 through the sales of a range of props such as: stick-on moustaches, glow sticks, while offering services such as glow in the dark face paint and waxing the football team’s legs. The Men’s Football team also participated in a Movember reactionary video with Keele Students’ Union, in which a group of members reacted and commented to facts surrounding men’s suicide and mental health. The Badminton team hosted a ‘Glow in the Dark’ session for all students to attend in conjunction with many members growing stylish moustaches which raised over £540.

The AU in collaboration with the University’s initiative Active Keele, organised a range of sporting activities throughout 15th -21st November, with all the proceeds going towards Movember.  Active Keele were delighted to support the Movember campaign by donating the £1 cost of attending sessions to Movember. This week saw many students try sports and activities for the first time and bring friends along to join them, also hosting Mo-Sister events. The Active Keele Coordinator Naomi Parton explained that “sport is such an amazing place to develop confidence, meet new friends and better your physical heath, so it was important to us to support Movember and raise awareness for Men’s health, but also advertise the support on offer through physical activity for all the guys at Keele”.

Moreover, the Athletic Union organised a charity dodgeball tournament (pictured right) inspired by the popular film ‘Dodgeball’. On Monday 6th December, twenty-two teams battled head-to-head through two leagues that ran simultaneously at the sports centre. Teams consisted to six to eight students who represented a range of sports teams, degrees and sporting abilities. The winners of each game then competed in out knockouts stages, until we crowned a to be the dodgeball champions of Keele – Dodge Dip Duck Dive and Dodge. The tournament attracted a large number of spectators who soaked up the atmosphere and donated alongside participants towards the charity efforts. The event raised an impressive £205.34 in two hours.

Our Oddballs foundation ambassador Sarah McDowell (pictured below) has spoken to multiple teams over twenty minutes about the important facts about testicular cancer, how to check yourself properly and what to do if you did have any concerns. Sarah explained that “students have been more then grateful to have a fellow student educated in this important topic, knowing there is someone of the same age to talk to. Students have left the talk not only with key knowledge but with the confidence to talk about their bodies and of course their testicles’.

In addition, The AU & Sports Officer Lucy Whitehouse constructed educational leaflets and posters to highlight the symptoms of a range of cancers, how to check for symptoms and the process to undertake if you find anything unusual. The digital and traditional media materials focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer in the male gender. The leaflets have been shared digitally via the Team Keele social media and are available across campus for students to discretely pick up. A variety of posters displaying a step-by-step guide on how to check yourself have been displayed in the toilets and changing rooms across the Student’s Union and Sports Centre. Lucy expressed the importance of students being aware on how to check themselves properly as she feels ‘that by answering students FAQs, we can slowly break down the stigmas behind self-examinations and misconceptions behind symptoms of certain cancers. When you provide students with the knowledge about these sensitive subjects, it gives them more confidence to talk with their peers and could lead to early detection of cancer - which inevitably could save a student’s life’.

Lucy hopes to continue the spirit of Movember by launching a year wide campaign with the Students’ Union: ‘You alright mate?’. The campaign will focus on educating male students on how look out for signs of poor mental health amongst their peers, direct them to the appropriate sources of help and encouraging conversations around mental health. Updates on the campaign will be released in due course and published through Keele Student Union’s social media platforms.

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