Giving mo’, mo’, mo’

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Real men support prostate cancer awareness

Cheyenne Geysen
Op-Ed Editor

Movember is changing the face of men’s health.

During the month of November, dubbed “Movember” by participants of the global phenomenon, men are challenged to raise awareness for their health by literally wearing the ribbon on their faces – in the form of a moustache.

Three men in Melbourne, Australia conceived the idea back in 2003.

“[They] were talking about things that had gone out of style and hadn’t come back in,” said Jesse Hayman, captain of the Team BOHICA Rugby Football club’s mo’team, based out of Richmond Hill, Ontario. “The moustache was the first one that struck a chord with them. From there, they decided that they were going to bring the moustache back. They got a lot of grief for it, from girlfriends and friends. So the next year they decided they needed to [have a reason behind it]. So they went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and they did it for them.”

In 2004, 432 “mo bros” joined the movement, and at the end of November the first Movember “team” presented the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia with a cheque for $55,000.

“From there … they realized what they had,” said Hayman. “It was something that could grow.”

And grow it did. Movember expanded to Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands, and France.

“In Canada last year we had 35,000 participants. Our goal this year was 55,000,” said Hayman. “Right now, we’re sitting at 92,000 and it’s like a week in.”

He stresses that “mo bros” don’t need to be able to actually grow facial hair to register and participate.

“As long as you’re raising awareness and supporting the cause, [that’s what counts].”

The campaign is open to women as well. Hayman said that women contribute many donations, and some actually register and take part in the hair-growing festivities by lending support to their male counterparts.

“The women that are registered are actually better fundraisers than [many of the] men. We’re not sure why that is; maybe they’re more motivated. We not only encourage the participation of women, [known as] “mo’ sistas”, we rely on it. If girls show that they love [moustaches] or at least can accept them for the month, and stand behind the reasoning, then there’s no reason [for men] not to grow.”

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer affecting men worldwide. The funds raised through Movember in Canada go directly to the Canadian Prostate Cancer Foundation, which enables them to fund vital research leading to better screening processes and treatment options. Funds are also used for support programs – pairing those recently diagnosed with survivors, to “help them deal with it better.”

But Movember does more than that. The hair above so many men’s lips generates discussions between them about topics often seen as taboo. According to the Movember website, a recent survey indicated that 39 per cent of those in the Movember community sought medical advice, and a further 36 per cent encouraged a friend, family member, or acquaintance to do the same.

Registration for Movember remains open throughout the month of November. Interested individuals can go to www.movember.com and sign up as an individual, join a team, or sign up as a team captain and register with some friends as a team. There are also networks available for participants to join – for example, Hayman is a part of the Big Moustache on Campus Network, a network for “mo bros” that are University students in Canada.

“It’s something that’s fun and it’s really easy to do. And by doing it, you’re really making a difference.”

So get “mo”tivated and start growing today.

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