I did it. I committed to growing a moustache. And I need some company.
Next month is Movember, an annual event to raise awareness (and money) for men’s health issues, including prostate and testicular cancer.
But why grow a moustache?
“Men who grow moustaches for the month of Movember, called Mo Bros, become walking, talking billboards for the cause, raising awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.”
Funds generated during Movember go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, and last year, 255,722 men and women around the world raised $40 million (USD) for them – all through the power of the mighty moustache.
According to the Movember Foundation site:
By and large, men are known to be more apathetic towards their health, especially when compared to the efforts of women, who proactively and publicly address their health issues in a way not traditionally seen with men. The result is that today the levels of awareness, understanding, and funding for support of male health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer.
Statistics show that, on average, men die at a younger age than women – the average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 compared to 82). That said, despite trailing the women’s health movement, things are beginning to change. Established taboos and barriers relating to men’s health are gradually being broken down.
To close the gap between the state of men and women’s health, much more progress needs to be made. Men are less likely to schedule doctors appointments when they feel ill or for an annual physical, thereby denying them the chance of early detection and effective treatment of common diseases.
Studies show that many men don’t get regular health checks for the following reasons:
- Scared it will lead to a hospital visit
- Embarrassed to discuss their health issues
- Find it too hard to see a doctor because they just can’t fit it into their schedule
- Just can’t be bothered making an appointment
The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in the US and around the world are numerous and complex, but what is known is that it is mainly due to a lack of awareness of the health issues men face. This can largely be attributed to the reluctance of men to openly discuss the subject due to longstanding traditions, coupled with an ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health more openly.
Movember’s primary campaign objective is to raise awareness of men’s health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages- including prostate and testicular cancer. Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer. It’s time men face some startling health facts:
- 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, 1 in 3 women will be.
- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Men commit suicide four times as often as women.
- An estimated 8.7 million adult men over the age of 20 in the US have diabetes- and a third do not know it.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34.
- Approximately 50 million men and women in the US have high blood pressure- almost 30 per cent of them do not know it.
But what do you want me to do about it?, you may be asking yourself.
As much as I’ve participated in helping non-profits and charities to raise money, only once was I expected to show up and be present in person, during a March of Dimes event – I had to get my picture taken with plastic handcuffs on, behind bars, after which they fed us lunch. I wasn’t able to raise much money for it, but it was kind of a weird deal – I was supposed to call up people while I was there and ask them to pledge money, and I am not a phone person at all. I’ll choose email over a phone call any day, and after I initially spammed all of my email contacts asking for donations, I was pretty much done.
Movember is much more of a commitment than that, as I’ll be wearing my pledge on my face, so to speak, and I’m sure it’s gonna be a strange month for all my ‘real life’ community… I’ve still not decided what style of moustache I’ll be rockin’, but I’ve got a little while yet to choose.
And here’s the thing: When I signed up, I checked the box for signing up a team (’cause I thought it would be more fun to get some other people to join in), and now I need some team members! At the time, I had to pick a name, so I picked “Team Soul Patch”, which is kind of dorky, but what the hell…
I need some good mo’ growin’ bros to be on my side (my mate Jeffrey Davis signed up as well).