Seventy-six-year-old Albert Stortchak, owner of Der Dietemann Antiques and Board Chair of the Broadview Danforth BIA, has put the fate of his iconic 50-year-old moustache in the hands of charitable donors.
The stakes are clear – if Stortchak can’t raise $10,000 for the Movember Movement by 2 p.m. on December 2, his timeless moustache will be sacrificed to the razor.
Stortchak, a lifelong Toronto local, has been a familiar face on The Danforth since he opened his antique shop, Der Dietemann Antiques, in 1990.
Now residing above the shop with his wife, Stortchak decided to embark on a unique Movember campaign after a moment of inspiration during a Sunday football game.
“It must have been a really boring game because, for the rest of it, I was counting how many friends, families, neighbours, even customers had been diagnosed at some point with prostate cancer,” Stortchak explained.
His revelation was staggering, encouraging him to find a meaningful way to contribute to the cause.
While many embrace the Movember tradition of shaving off their moustaches in solidarity, Stortchak took a distinctive approach. He chose to “save” his moustache, which has adorned his face for over five decades, feeling it carried a more positive message.
The decision was part of his broader effort to reduce stigma around issues surrounding men’s health.
“People want to feel represented, and they want to share their stories and experiences. Campaigns like Movember help motivate people to make a change,” says Stortchak.
Movember, now a global initiative, aims to tackle the health crisis facing men. With men, on average, dying four and a half years earlier than women due to preventable reasons, Movember addresses issues like prostate and testicular cancer, which affect millions globally.
Movember’s mission also extends to reducing the alarming rate of male suicides, making a significant impact on a global scale.
“There’s nothing more noble to this than me wanting to help those I know, and all those I don’t, who have been or will be affected,” Stortchak emphasizes.
Prostate cancer, one of Movember’s leading causes, is a reality that hits close to home for many, and Stortchak’s campaign serves as a testament to the shared experience within communities. “It’s scary to realize how common it actually is,” he admits.
Stortchak approaches the challenge with a mix of nerves and excitement. “My moustache has just always been there. I set a very ambitious goal, so it was a real risk.”
“But, no matter what happens, I will feel that this campaign was a success because everything raised will go to important prostate cancer research and support.”
If the $10,000 goal isn’t met, Stortchak will be forced to part ways with his iconic moustache, but not without immediate plans for a comeback.
“Oh, I’ll grow it back immediately, along with a hipster beard I’m pretty excited to style,” he chuckled.