It’s easy to pick Rebecca Duff out of the more than 700 students at Holy Trinity High in Torbay.
She’s the only girl sporting a moustache.
Neither teachers nor students get tired of seeing 17-year-old Rebecca’s ’stache — she’s been wearing a different one to school every day and has enough to take her through the entire month without having to wear the same one twice.
The Level 2 student says she came up with the idea of participating in the popular Movember fundraiser for prostate cancer research when a classmate wondered aloud what it would be like if a female student wore a moustache to school every day for the entire month.
“I’m always there to have a bit of fun and I do a lot of fundraising anyway …,” she said. “So, I came to school the first day, Nov. 1, with my moustache on. And I’ve been wearing one ever since.”
Rebecca visited several stores and bought dozens of moustaches. No two are identical and many were made with a character in mind — cowboys, movie stars, musicians and villains.
While most of them are black, Rebecca also has them in pink and blond. A thin black ’stache with beads hanging from the ends is one of her favourites.
She’s gotten used to wearing a moustache but hasn’t mastered how to eat while wearing one without making a mess. She failed miserably with pizza, she said.
“I got it all up in my moustache and the sticky came off,” she says, referring to the adhesive backing.
Rather than go the rest of the afternoon without a moustache, Rebecca asked her friend to draw one on.
She says students still can’t stop laughing when they see her in the halls. She figures if she had to wear one to school for the entire year, she’d never get a boyfriend, but has no problem sporting one for a month because it’s for a good cause.
Movember sees men grow moustaches and solicit donations during the month of November.
Since it started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003, the initiative has grown to become the world’s largest non-government funder of prostate cancer research, and women have found unique ways to get involved.
In 2011, more than 850,000 people participated in Movember worldwide and raised $125.7 million. The 245,000 Canadian participants netted approximately $42 million of that amount.
This year, campaigns are taking place in 21 countries on five continents.
Rebecca set out to raise $500, but thanks to support from students, staff, family and friends she’s already surpassed that goal.
She’s pooling her money with that raised by another student — Brittany Victorino, 17, who has been painting moustaches on fingernails for a fee.
“We’re having fun and raising money at the same time,” Rebecca says.
Several teachers and male students at Holy Trinity High are growing moustaches, including Rebecca’s classmate, Jordan MacDonald.
He says he admires Rebecca for having the courage to participate in Movember. Not many girls would be as dedicated to a project that supports men’s health, he says.
“Movember took the world by storm and it’s great to see Rebecca doing this now, too. But it takes a lot of getting used to seeing her with a moustache,” the 16-year-old says.
Rebecca’s English teacher, Linda Budgell, said as long as the teenager’s moustache didn’t distract other students, she was all for it.
“Rebecca has a lot of confidence. She’s a very determined student who embodies what school spirit is all about,” Budgell said.
“She’s showing everyone that youth can make a difference.”
School principal Andrew Hickey says he was surprised and delighted when Rebecca said she wanted to wear a moustache to school.
“We encourage all the students and staff to participate in Movember and contribute in whatever way they can. Rebecca went above and beyond what’s expected of our students. She’s showing great leadership. We’re very proud of her.”