Cash for 'stache

CARWOOLA man Lance Austin has always had a light-hearted approach when it comes to his facial hair.

Whether it was a retro moustache while in the airforce or just letting it flourish into a full beard since then, he's done it all. 

This month, the 49-year-old is reliving his military days in support of Movember. The initiative asks participants to grow a mo while raising money and awareness for men's health issues, specifically prostate cancer and men's mental health. 

Mr Austin decided to take up the Movember challenge for a second year as it supports two issues close to his heart.

"One of the initial reasons I decided to do Movember was because my dad died from prostate cancer a few years back," he said. 

"The organisation also aims to educate and help men overcome depression through BeyondBlue."

"It's a good, fun way to raise money, you shave off your facial hair and start all over again.

"It looks a bit lame in the first week or two but you could parallel it with the difficulty of recovery, the first part of any recovery is always the hardest. 

"The same way that in the first week the moustache doesn't look that flash but as you go along you look better, the same with recovery the more you go along you feel better."

Mr Austin said helping raise money for BeyondBlue was also a cause close to his heart as he has suffered depression in the past, a condition associated with his difficulty speaking because of a stutter.

He has had a stutter since he was three-years-old and completed some speech therapy to help with it. 

However, it wasn't until he stumbled on the McGuire Programme ten-years-ago that he was able to find techniques to help him manage his stutter in everyday life.

"[Having a stutter] it's pretty horrible, there's lots of fear, shame and guilt and panic when speaking in situations like an interview with specific questions and having to give specific answers," he said. 

"For a person who stutters there's pressure and self-expectation - 'better not screw this up, better get it right'."

Mr Austin described the McGuire Programme, a treatment that focuses on breathing techniques to help improve speech and reduce stuttering, as life-changing. 

Having since graduated from the program, he now coaches other people who also stutter.

"At the moment I'm helping a boy from Yass. It's a great opportunity to give back and offer our experience to help those starting out."

*Support Lance Austin's Movember fundraiser by donating at http://mobro.co/LanceAustin. For more information on the McGuire Programme go to www.stuttering.com.au.

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