Perhaps you’ve noticed heaps of moustaches sprouting on men’s upper lips this month? Welcome to Movember!
Perhaps you’ve noticed heaps of moustaches sprouting on men’s upper lips this month? Welcome to Movember! We are the global men’s health organization that encourages men and women to register on Movember.com and grow or support the moustache for 30 days to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
Back in 2003 when I was challenged by my brother and some mates to grow a Mo (Aussie slang for moustache) for the month of November as a fun experiment (to see if we could put the Mo back on the face of fashion), I did not think that a decade later I would be the CEO and co-founder of a global men’s health organization that is the top non-government funder of prostate cancer research in the world.
For me, in 2003 it was just for fun, a social experiment alongside 30 other Mo Bros growing moustaches for the first time. What amazed us back then, was how many conversations and how much controversy the growth of a new moustache created. Bosses, family, even strangers on the street would stop, stare and ask, why the moustache?
It was only after we said goodbye to our Mos in 2003, that we had time to reflect on how this month-long journey had impacted us. Some of us realized we weren’t that well-endowed in the upper lip area, while others grew full moustaches within a week. One thing was certain—regardless of the state of our Mos—they got people talking.
The following year we decided to grow moustaches again, but this time, we were going to give everyone something to really talk about: a cause behind the Mo. We saw that the breast cancer movement was gaining momentum at a staggering pace, but noticed there was nothing for any men’s health issue. When we did some research into the health issues that affect men, it was surprising to learn that the incident rates of prostate cancer were comparable to rates of breast cancer in women. But there was, and still is, a huge gap between the two causes in terms of awareness and funding. That sealed the deal for us. Our Movember moustaches would become for prostate cancer what the pink ribbon is for breast cancer—a hairy ribbon.
That’s how Movember, the charity, was born.
2004 was our first year as a charitable movement. We rallied 450 of our friends to grow, supported by the amazing ladies in our life, raising funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). At the end of the month we gave the single largest donation made to the PCFA—$43,000. We realized that the moustache was much more than just a lip sweater—it was a powerful tool to raise much needed awareness and funds for a seriously underserved cause.
Over the years Movember has grown into a truly global movement. With our roots in Australia, we then began campaigns in New Zealand, the U.K., U.S., Canada and Spain. Movember is now in 21 countries. The video below highlights that growth.
While it may sound like we are only focused on the Mo Bros, women—or Mo Sistas as we refer to them—play a vital role in Movember by registering as a team captain and recruiting all the men in their lives to join. Women are often the gatekeepers to a man’s health—encouraging dads, brothers, husbands, boyfriends to take charge. If growing a moustache isn’t really your style, take a tip from Mo Sistas on how you can promote the Movember cause.
First and foremost, ask a Mo Bro if he’s had an annual health checkup and, if over 40, encourage him to speak to his doctor about a prostate exam. One of the biggest factors in surviving prostate cancer is early detection, so make sure the men in your life are taking preventative measures in order to lead long and healthy lives.
Donate to a Mo Bro or Mo Sista, or engage in the fun of Movember by hosting fundraising parties at your workplace or in your community. Don’t forget to always smile at a Mo Bro and compliment his Mo. That helps them grow. Visit the Get Involved section of the site for more ideas.
Now, that my 9th Movember is almost over, I am overwhelmed by how much Movember has grown. Already in 2012, over one million men and women have joined our moustache movement to change the face of men’s health. The impact is truly global and we are funding world-class programs with our men’s health partners in survivorship, education and awareness, and research. In 2009 we created of our own Global Action Plan (GAP), which unites the world’s leading prostate cancer researchers to collaborate on research. Over the years we have raised an incredible $299 million making Movember the largest funder of prostate cancer programs in the world.
Adam Garone is the CEO & co-founder of Movember.