It’s time for one of the most surprisingly contentious seasons: Movember…the season of the stache.
Surprisingly contentious because…well…I was pretty darned surprise to discover it was contentious. I kinda love Movember! I look forward to all the fabulously weird and wonderful staches sported by men in suits, cardigans and hoodies. From the hirsute to the barely stubbly and everyone in between, these men are all mo-ing it up…who cares what they look like. It’s kind of liberating. And I must admit, I think my hubby looks pretty sexy in his stache.
But the other day, I overheard several women on the skytrain mumbling about how they think the moustaches they see during November are stupid and how much it bugs them. My husband innocently posted a call out to people to join a Movember team and was greeted with comments ranging from “I pay people not to be involved” to “I hate Movember”.
He then responded with a “I wonder what would happen if I said I was tired of seeing all that pink in October” and I thought.
Breast Cancer is the elephant in the room in our household. My mom is a three time breast cancer survivor who recently had a bilateral mastectomy. My husbands mother lost her battle to breast cancer when he was 13. His grandmother also lost her life to breast cancer and his uncle died of prostate cancer. We have done walks and runs and have raised literally thousands of dollars in our household in support of breast cancer awareness and research. There is so much pink swag out there it would be insane to buy it all. I wondered, as I was in the grocery store the other day and given the option to buy pink cat litter (seriously…PINK CAT LITTER) in support of breast cancer initiatives…is there anyone out there who doesn’t know about pink and breast cancer?
I went to watch the BC Lions play football last week (roar you Lions roar)…in a pink BC Place stadium. All the players had adorned pink socks and armbands in support of breast cancer awareness. But I wonder, how many of them will grow a mustache in November and know what it means?
Movember is a month about Men’s health awareness. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and recently male mental health initiatives. In 2011, Movember raised $125.7 million CAD, with almost 90% of that going to fund to men’s health initiatives. That’s a staggering number. Fundraising best practices hover around 15-25% admin costs…many events and fundraisers run higher admin costs. Movember is at between 8 and 10%. It’s a fun and effective campaign that does some amazing things.
Movember was started by 30 dudes in Melbourne Australia in 2003 and since that time has grown to truly change the face of men’s health as 1.9 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Holy moustache batman!
So why a whole campaign on men’s health?
Well…you all have men in your lives. I know I do. I have a husband, a brother in law, a father and a son that I love to death and are four of the most important people in my life. Many of my closest friends (dare I say brothers from another mother) are men and I know that most of them, if left to their own devices would have their arm fall off before going to the doctor to see if there was something wrong with it. Its a grand generalization (but its probably not far off the mark) that men tend to ignore issues rather than go to the doctor. And as prostate exams are…well…awkward and uncomfortable, men surprisingly enough don’t run out to get them. It makes me pretty darned happy I don’t have a prostate, let me tell you.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
- In 2012 an estimated 26,500 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,000 will die of it.
- On average, 73 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every day.
- On average, 11 Canadian men will die of prostate cancer every day.
- One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it.
Movember has raised so much money in the past few years that they have expanded their mandate to include further men’s health initiatives and this year they are targeting men’s mental health. I work for an awesome mental health organization (go CMHA-Vancouver Burnaby) and have become more aware of mental health issues in our community…and realized how much I didn’t know about mental health and wellness…
- 1 out of 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and the remaining 4 will have a family member of colleague who will.
- Mental health issues affect over 3.4 million Canadian men and boys each year.
- 4 out of 5 suicides among young people in Canada are committed by men
- 1 in 4 cancer patients experience clinical depression.
- The risk of suicide in men with prostate cancer is over 4 times that of a similarly aged man without prostate cancer.
- Mental health issues are one of the largest threats to male health.
So when November roles around, and the upper lips of the men in your life begin to sprout hair, and you begin to feel surly about the strange growth on their face, think about how you would feel if that face wasn’t there anymore to grow awkward facial hair. This isn’t about ugly moustaches and who can look the most like Ron Swanson. This isn’t about you ladies..it’s about them. It’s about raising awareness and funds for themselves, for their sons, their husbands, their partners, their brothers and their fathers. Its about changing the face of men’s health.
Remember, these are the men that wear pink socks, tshirts and ribbons to support breast cancer. Maybe we can be okay with a moustache for a month…
I know I’ll be a proud Mo Sista once again so I can do what I can to keep the men in my life around as long as possible.