A man leans up against the counter at a barbershop
"Sharing my situation opened up a lot of conversations with people."Image by: Ava Wild
A man leans up against the counter at a barbershop
16 October 2023

Garry’s Oil Rig Rumble message: Keep the momentum going

4 minutes read time

How I first got involved with Movember

I first started fundraising with Movember back in 2009. That was when my father had gotten diagnosed and was undergoing initial treatments for prostate cancer. Joining up was a way to show my support for what he was going through. I’d fundraised a couple of years after that, but last year’s Movember got a lot more personal for me.

My own prostate cancer diagnosis

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer. Because of my family history, my family doctor was always watching my PSA. I always had my annual physical and checkups and blood work. But last year, when I was 51-years old, my doctor noticed an increase in my PSA levels. That led to all sorts of investigations. I was sent to the prostate cancer centre, and had a biopsy scheduled. Then in August, I got the phone call, “Your results from the biopsy came in, and you’ve got cancer.”

It was a shock to hear. Initially, there wasn’t a lot of explanation behind it. For me, like I think it must be for anybody, it was a lonely place.

Bringing my diagnosis into the open

The results of the biopsy determined that the diagnosis was the lowest level of the lowest grade. So, once the shock passed, it became something I was quite comfortable with. I was glad we’d caught it at that point.

It was just a couple of months ahead of November, so it was very fresh when our campaign at SECURE started up. It kind of felt like I had an obligation to share my story, to make sure that if anyone else was in my situation, they would know to act, in order to catch it early, and improve their chances. Being in the energy and commodity side of the business, I think about it as risk and reward. The risk of doing nothing as it relates to prostate cancer is way too high. So why wait? Go and get it checked out.

Sharing my story at work

My workplace (Editor’s note: and Oil Rig Rumble 2022 champions), SECURE, had run Movember campaigns for many years before my diagnosis. When Movember 2022 rolled around at work, I started crafting my motivation for my Mo Space. I decided to be super honest about the diagnosis, and just put it out there. I found that sharing what had happened was almost therapeutic.

When there’s an incident at work – say a safety or environmental incident – our response it that we get really big, really fast. That’s what happened with our Movember campaign once my story was out in the world. I put it out there, and it completely took off from there.

The response was overwhelming. The SECURE team rallied around me and my own network was so supportive when they heard the news. Once people on my team heard my story, there was a huge effort for the whole team to put their shoulder into the Movember campaign. With so many of our operators being male, it’s a cause that is very important to SECURE. Wehave many female team members too who join the cause to support the men in their lives. Last year, I was glad in a way that my situation helped to put our Oil Rig Rumble campaign into another gear.

Sharing my situation opened up a lot of conversations with people. Other men were sharing their own prostate cancer stories with me, which helped my mental health in a big way.

The team at work rallying around me was amazing and a bit overwhelming, but I’m hoping we’ll be rallying around others this year. Because there are lots of stories out there.

Drilling even deeper for Movember 2023

For SECURE, it’s in our DNA to grab on to these causes. We have a lot of people on our team that are super competitive. Once we throw it out there, the friendly competition between different areas and departments starts. People want to win, but they want to raise this awareness, and raise a ton of funds for the cause. Last year I raised over $195,000 with SECURE’s help as the match for all the Secure fundraising went towards my total, and the whole team effort raised over $346,000 for men’s health. it was a very cool experience to be a part of the big raise.

This year, I hope we take the momentum, no pun intended, and leverage the success that we had last year, to keep the Rig Rumble championship streak alive.

Support Garry and SECURE in their mission to change the face of men’s health and learn more about how to get involved in the Oil Rig Rumble.