February 24th, 2020

Life changes when we grow up without a parent

Mo Bro Rahim Shamji on his motivation for Movember.
Prostate Cancer | In the Barber Chair

We lost my dad to cancer about 15 years ago; six months after my daughter was born. She was the first and only grandchild to meet him. My dad was a cancer survivor having beat prostate cancer. We were all so proud. It was a trying time for all of us as my sister had just finished her run with breast cancer.   

Unfortunately, the cancer came back. This time with a vengeance and he wasn't able to beat it the second time around.   

At the time of his passing, I felt I was ready to step into his shoes, be the so called “man of the family”. What didn’t occur to me was how his presence would be missed in my life. Now that my children are teenagers, I see how his void has really made an impact. I didn't realize how much I not only needed him but wanted him to be around. To share in the big moments, like the birth of my second child or celebrating a promotion. To muddling through those trivial things that we take for granted, such as going to a game or knowing what to say to your own son when he goes though life’s trivialities.

Life changes when we grow up without a parent. A void is created that can’t be filled by the other parent. No matter how hard they try.  

“Cancer will continue to take men every day, but with awareness, we will slow down the trend.”

Around the time we lost my dad, a cancer spiral started in my extended family. My sister survived her cancer, but we lost many others, including some as young as 16. This is my motivation to raise awareness for Movember. 

This year will mark my 12th year participating in Movember. It started off a joke, when a friend suggested we grow moustaches for this thing called Movember. We had no idea what it was and didn’t raise any money. Over the ensuing eleven years, I have grown a variety of moustaches from the Freddie Mercury to the Serpent to the Monkey tail. Each variation sparks a new conversation which provides a new opportunity to share my story.  

Reaching a wider audience every year ensures that one more person is becoming aware of the risks of cancer. But it goes further than that. Each person that is aware is also encouraged to get checked in order to prevent future cancer from developing and ensure early detection. Together we will stop this disease from eradicating our lives. 

Cancer will continue to take men every day, but with awareness, we will slow down the trend.