Once again we enter Movember – the period of the year when millions of men and women worldwide are proudly donning extravagant moustaches (or ‘Mos’) in the name of good causes. But what are those good causes and where did this global trend come from?
Movember aims to stop men dying too young.
The concept of Movember was born in 2003 when two Australian friends, out having a few beers, joked about trying to bring back the moustache; a fashion trend mostly lost to the ages but kept alive through the brave defiance of cookie-duster stalwarts like Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds. That joke then became a dare between the two friends, and by the end of their evening their dare progressed into a challenge to find 30 ‘Mo Bros’ willing to spend 30 days growing moustaches for a charitable cause. The charitable cause they chose to begin with was the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
Having now caught the philanthropy bug, the two friends quickly established the Movember fundraising foundation complete with an official logo and website to spread the word. The following year, the two friends coordinated the efforts of a further 450 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to present a £22,000 cheque to the PCFA – the largest single donation they’d received up to that point.
The Movember movement grew extraordinarily over the ten years that followed. Quickly transforming from a local movement into a global one, in 2016 it’s supported by campaigns in 21 different countries. The funds its campaigns raise collectively make it one of the biggest non-governmental organisations in the world with over £443m generated to date.
Taking on the problem
Movember aims to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues, namely prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in males worldwide. It’s the most common form of cancer in UK males with around 47,000 cases diagnosed in 2013 alone, accounting for 26% of new cases of cancer in males during that year. Three quarters of suicide victims are male. It’s these startling statistics that the Movember movement aims to tackle by raising awareness, changing attitudes and behaviours to promote prevention and creating support services that work – so that by 2030, the number of men dying prematurely will be reduced by 25%.
To achieve this goal, Movember campaigns provide vital funding to over 1200 research and support groups worldwide, working with organisations such as Prostate Cancer UK and The Institute of Cancer Research.
How you can get involved
Getting involved in Movember is really easy. The first step is to register on the Movember Foundation website. This will give you access to a personal fundraising profile page to receive donations and log your fundraising efforts. Then once you’ve chosen a challenge, seek out donations from people willing to sponsor you to do it.
Growing a Mo
The classic Movember challenge is to display a flamboyant moustache for 30 days that turns heads, makes the boldest of fashion statements and proudly defies modern concepts of “taste”. The handlebar and the horseshoe are tried and tested crowd pleasers, here. It doesn’t have to be a real one by the way, so feel free to get as creative as you want with a novelty number.
Move for November or host an event
If sporting a fetching soup strainer doesn’t take your fancy, you can also support the movement by doing a physical activity – running, climbing, swimming, cycling, etc – or hosting a fundraising event.
Any contribution is vital in the effort to stop men dying too young. However you choose to participate, be bold, be inspiring, and have fun!