If you see an increase in strange and spectacular moustaches in the coming weeks, rest easy.
November is known for the disappearing of leaves, the arrival of Christmas music and the growing out of facial hair. It’s Movember.
Movember is a campaign centered around opening up talks about men’s health: something that hasn’t always been easily discussed.
Consider the fact that eleven Canadian men die of prostate cancer every day. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in Canada and more deaths occur if the cancer goes undetected. Early detection of prostate cancer alone can increase survival rate by 96 per cent.
Movember has been more effective than any other men’s health campaign in history. It was started by a couple of regular guys and caught on as a trend among men. Given the success and money raised for prostate cancer, Movember has branched out to other health issues that men face, including testicular cancer and mental health.
The foundation became official in 2003, and has since evolved beyond moustaches. Movember has changed the face of men’s health by creating a generation of men who aren’t afraid to talk to their doctor.
In 2003, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery met over a beer in Melbourne, Austrailia and discussed fashion trends that have come and gone. They wondered if they alone could bring back the moustache, if even just for a month. They decided to convince others to spend the month of November growing out the best moustache they could. Thirty men took them up on the challenge.
That first year no profits were made. It was the following year, 2004, when enthusiasm for the stunt had grown so much they decided to start a charitable organization.
Together they formed a foundation, but the question of where the money would go remained. Prostate cancer has always been something guys didn’t discuss even though it killed so many. Garone and Slattery approached the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), who agreed any funds raised would be accepted. No official partnership was formed.
As of November 1st 2016, the Movember foundation alone has raised over $300 million Canadian. In the spirit of opening up tough conversations for men, Movember has expanded its focus to include testicular cancer and mental health issues.
The campaign has also brought about a renaissance of facial hair fashion. Men spend the month trying to outgrow their friends and enter December with a ‘stache they can be proud of. Some keep it as a permanent staple of their manhood.
Guys, take this November and give growing your best Mo a try. It’s time to put this stigma about health to rest. Movember opens the discussion about prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. If you can’t wear it on your sleeve, then wear it on your lip.
Editorial by Travis Fortnum and Alex Debets
Editorial cartoon by Toby Van Weston