It was just supposed to be a bit of a joke, but what originally started out as a bit of fun turned into a worldwide phenomena that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental health.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Mustache club decided that they would help raise funds for Spirit Horse N.L. which looks to enhance the lives of people suffering from mental illness, through therapeutic interaction with horses, and they did just that, in a very unique and creative fashion.
Hasan Hai (who doubled as Mr. January for the calendar shoot), a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Mustache club, and the man responsible for getting the merman calendar off of the ground was ecstatic with the reception that the calendar received, as well as the positive impact they were making on the community.
"It's incredibly rewarding," said Hasan. "The dollar amount is significant and we know that we made a significant difference, not just in the lives of Erin, but in everyone she'll help through Spirit Horse."
The Erin that Hasan was speaking about is Erin Gallant, the founder of Spirit Horse. She was blown away the amount of money that has been raised through this endeavor, "my reaction was complete shock," Gallant said. "I still haven't processed what I am going to do with it. I know it's going to help a lot of people for a very long time to access our services."
The calendar actually sold over 14,000 copies in 40 different countries. That fact alone is simply amazing. Thirty bearded and burly men from what Canadians fondly refer to as "The Rock" making international news is not something that happens every day.
Work has already begun on next year's rendition of the calendar, which the organizers hope will include several different locations from around the island province.
Will you be buying a copy of next year's Merb'ys Calendar?