My uncle was diagnosed with an advanced stage of prostate cancer three years ago and since learning of his condition, I’ve paid more attention to Movember. It’s taken on more meaning for me since this ugly disease has affected my family and someone I love.
Movember, of course, takes place during the month of November, and it is the official global charity dedicated to having an everlasting impact on men’s health. It raises money for prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health. This is important since men die on average five to six years younger than women, and often from preventable diseases. Their suicide rate is also four times higher.
What do moustaches have to do with it? The small group who created the charity in 2003 decided to use it as the catalyst for change. The concept was that by changing your appearance by growing a “mo” for 30 days, you could change the understanding and attitudes men have towards their health by getting them to talk about something they don’t typically discuss.
“Guys don’t communicate the way women do,” my friend Cameron Carter said. “This charity gets them talking, and I know from experience that the moustaches are a conversation starter.”
By growing a mo and becoming a “Mo Bro” four years ago, Cameron has enjoyed explaining the mission of the organization, and he raises money by asking his friends to donate just $5 each. But it’s the education part he enjoys the most.
“When I found out that one in seven men get prostate cancer, I thought, hey, that’s two guys on my ball team,” he said. “I’d better let them know.”
Realizing that he can’t influence everyone, he says that even if only one man improves his health or gets checked out and his life is saved, he knows he’s doing the right thing.
“A lot of guys are afraid to get the prostate exam because they think it will hurt,” he said. “But it doesn’t, and it’s only mildly uncomfortable for seconds. That’s nothing compared to what women go through with their pap tests and mammograms.”
Not everyone’s supportive of Movember though. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve had enough with all the campaigns trying to raise funds and awareness, and don’t believe any of it helps. I completely disagree.
Only 10 years ago, 30 men banded together in Australia to become the first “Mo Bros.” Since then the Movember movement has grown to include 20 additional countries that raised over $146 million last year alone. 87 per cent of the funds raised go directly to research and managed programs, and more men have become pro-active by adopting healthier lifestyles and getting prostate exams. That’s a significant improvement to men’s health that should not be dismissed. Instead it should be applauded, supported and improved.
Being a woman that can’t grow a moustache, I decided to sing about them instead. “Moustache Love,” inspired by Captain & Tennille’s old 1970s hit “Muskrat Love” is my funny new video. It features a real nautical captain, firefighters and a beloved Okanagan comedian. If you like the video, please share it. All revenue made from YouTube will go directly to the charity, so the more hits the bigger the donation.