For the uninitiated, Movember is a once-a-year opportunity to see which one of your mates can grow the dirtiest mo. But the guys at Movember have evolved far beyond a once-a-year excuse for trying on a new face. The charity has quickly become an internationally renowned philanthropic powerhouse. The main goal of the movement is simple:
Stop men dying too young.
The Best Ideas Start at the Pub
In 2003, mates Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were enjoying a beer in Fitzroy. As is standard with Melbournites, the two began discussing style, and the absence of the coveted moustache from modern fashion trends was a hot topic. An offhand joke became something real and the guys managed to get 30 other men on board to take part in their Movember challenge, with the aim of raising awareness for prostate cancer.
A year later Movember was registered as a business and the real work began. $54,000 is raised for the Prostate Foundation of Australia by 480 ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sistas’. In 2006, the foundation gains recognised charity status and goes international with participants in New Zealand. This international renowned continues in 2007, as bases take root in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Spain. In 2011, Movember is considered one of the Top 100 Global Charities by the Global Journal through the three main criteria of impact, innovation, and sustainability.
As the years progressed, Movembers role on the world stage became more and more abundant. What was once a small idea between two mates had become an absolute charity phenomenon.
Movember is obviously fighting the good fight. But who’s the enemy? Well, contrary to popular belief it’s not late puberty or a gene pool lacking the ability to bare facial hair. Instead, Movember’s initial greater good of stopping men dying too young is condensed into three main areas of focus:
- Prostate cancer.
- Testicular cancer.
- Mental health and suicide prevention.
It’s these main areas, Movember believes, that are stopping men from living their best lives. Movember’s site states that 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before 75, while testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer among our younger brothers, sons, and fathers. Furthermore, men make up 75% of suicides around the world, with one dying every minute. These are some sorry statistics and they mean that one of us – or at least someone close to us – will be affected by these tragedies in a considerable manner.
The Movember Mission
Considering the above information, we as men and as a society have an uphill battle to face. But, with the help of charities such as Movember, the future is bright. In 15 short years, the foundation has funded over 1,200 men’s health projects around the world resulting in a real change. Perhaps most astonishingly, Movember has pledged to reduce the number of men dying to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide by 25% – a far from trivial number.
So, what is the result of 15 years of fighting the good fight? $938 million raised. And for Movember, this is only the beginning. But the fight isn’t over. This is how Movember plan to finish it:
- Give men the facts.
- Change behaviour for the better.
- Create services that work for men.
- Bring the brightest minds together.
- Listen to the community and advocate for men.
These are simple and effective steps towards eradicating premature death in men. But there are smaller steps we can take right now, this November, towards these greater goals.
Whether you’re a mo-master or not, there’s always a way to get involved in raising funds for the Movember foundation. Movember is a charity, therefore the most obvious and direct way to help is to give all you can. However, if you’re after a bit more fun and a bit more of a challenge, Movember offers three main strategies for getting involved:
The OG option. This simply requires signing up on the Movember website, growing a mo, then begin encouraging donations from friends and family. More than just raising funds, it is hoped that the countless men around the world unusually sporting their mo will begin a conversation around men’s health. A conversation that often goes lacking.
Mo’s aren’t for everyone and I can tell you from experience that sometimes moving 60 kilometres over a month is probably easier than growing a respectable moustache. Male, female, adult, or child – everyone can move. The 60 kilometres represents the 60 men who are the victims of suicide each hour. Fortunately, with 30 days in November, 60 kilometres averages out to just 2 kilometres a day. Depending on your speed and athletic ability, you could have this done in a couple of days or take your time and breathe in the sweet air of doing good.
Everyone loves parties. So why not celebrate the future of men’s health? With Movember at the forefront of this health revolution, there’s plenty to cheer about. Whether it’s a nice candle-lit dinner between a couple of friends or an all-out rave, your event can start the conversation surrounding men’s health and could raise some serious cash in the process.
Mo-grower or not, there’s plenty of ways we can all get involved with Movember to stop men from dying too young. This once-tiny organisation has grown to be a serious contender against the many health issues men face and at this rate, Movember is only going to become bigger and better with each passing year. Happy mo-ing!
Visit the Movember Foundation website to get involved and learn more.
All images owned by Movember Foundation.