Losing a student, a friend, a classmate is devastating to a student body. Losing three is unimaginable. For a high school of 1,400 in Hastings, Minnesota, it was almost too much to bear. Charlie Varley, a teacher at the school, searched for a glimmer of hope to offer his grieving students and staff.
Varley found refuge for the school in his wife’s suggestion that they participate in Movember aka No Shave November. The commitment to growing one’s facial hair during the month of November may seem silly or even meaningless to some, but it symbolizes a vow to promote men’s health and offered this mourning high school a reason to smile again.
The idea started small but caught on like wildfire amongst a community desperate for hope. Thirty five staff members quickly pledged their support. “Maybe by us looking sort of stupid for a month, the kids would have a reason to laugh and smile again,” hoped Varley.
Student support was immense. With a crowned King of Movember, facial hair growing contests and a fake mustache day for the female students and staff, the student body raised over $2,000.
“The sadness and memories were not forgotten, but become more manageable for a lot of people.” It seemed the fundraiser supporting health, and each other, was the light in the darkness they had been searching for – and the little bit of fun they all needed.
Why, you may ask, donate to The V Foundation then? Where does cancer fall into this? The answer: it doesn’t.. but hope does. For Varley, the decision was obvious; it wasn’t about the cause itself but about the attitude. After sharing Jimmy V’s ESPY speech with the staff, the choice to donate to The V Foundation was unanimous. Jim’s voice spoke straight to each and every staff member and student, “Don’t give up…Don’t ever give up.” ®