At the Royal Military College of Canada, the Paladins men’s rugby team finished sixth in the country among university sports teams in Movember fundraising, collecting over $7,000.
Originally, RMC rugby was hoping to raise $1,000—a goal they surpassed within 24 hours of launching their campaign, according to a release from RMC Paladins, dated Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. After eclipsing a new $2,500 goal in just 48 hours, Josh Andrews (Kingston, Ont.) and his teammates set their sights a little higher, eventually totalling $7,193.51.
“We appreciate every dollar that has been donated,” Andrews said. “The team is stoked about how many friends, family and alumni have stepped up and helped us achieve these milestones.”
Andrews, a full back, was instrumental in organizing this year’s fundraising efforts, according to the release. As a leader on the team, he saw Movember as a great way to come together as a group in a year without a season.
“Due to COVID-19 we have been separated as a team physically, as members are dispersed across the country,” he said. “I think that this was a good way to bring us together and support something that we are passionate about.”
Many members of the team have not even met each other, as RMC started the school year with only its first-year students on campus, along with a select group of upper-years in leadership roles, all of whom were later sent back to their homes. The RMC Paladins say that without everyone gathered in Kingston, Movember offered an opportunity to reinforce the team’s culture and do something together.
“We are brothers on and off the field,” Andrews said. “Myself and other senior members identified that this is the type of team we are, and we hope to set a good example for the fresh faces to RMC rugby.”
One of the newest members of the team, Severin Estey (Calgary, Alta.), took that example and ran with it, leading the team in money raised last month.
“I am a first year at the College, so it was a little disappointing that I couldn’t really get to know the team during the practices and build much camaraderie,” Estey said. “Initially, my goal was to raise $500, and I was able to do this by telling everyone I could that I was trying to raise funds for Movember. After the first week or so the initial goal was smashed and the total quickly climbed to over $1,000.”
According to the release, the engineering student was new to Movember, but that didn’t stop him from totalling $1,140. While his family poked fun at him for his moustache, family connections also helped boost his fundraising efforts.
“I posted this on Instagram and Facebook hoping to get people’s attention and possibly have them share it to their friends to also donate, which is what happened,” Estey said. “Having access to my father’s network of ex-Cadet buddies didn’t hurt either.”
Many messages received along with the donations indicate that friends of John Estey (College #18630) were happy to chip in to help their classmate’s son, RMC Paladins said in the release.
“From one of your Dad’s wretched college lads,” one donor wrote.
In addition to pouring himself into Movember, Estey said he has managed to find a balance while entering university during a pandemic.
“Being able to still hang out with friends virtually is the biggest thing for me because it allows me to let off some steam and just joke around,” he said. “It’s also really important that I force myself to take breaks from my studies whenever I can—I go for walks or runs around my neighborhood, workout at the gym, train in karate, listen to music, watch Netflix or just play video games.”
Estey’s walks and runs tied into the Move for Movember initiative, which was one aspect of the cause that appealed to the rugby team this year, according to the release.
Andrews said each member of the team committed to running 60km during November for the 60 men who die to suicide every hour.
“As both rugby players and military members, we believe that we have a platform to set a good example through fitness,” Andrews said. “The 60km serves as more than just a physical goal; it signifies the importance of both mental and physical well-being, and aims to raise awareness for suicide prevention.”
With a successful Movember campaign behind him and an uncertain winter term just around the corner, Andrews remains optimistic about a chance to get back to rugby and meet the first-years, like Estey.
“I am looking forward to hopefully stepping foot on the field with the boys again and introducing new players to our great program.”