Movember was born in 2003, the product of two friends, who sat down for a beer and discussed lapsed fashion trends – ie, the moustache. Their ironic decision to grow one and get some friends on board has gone on to change the conversation and culture of men’s health across the world.
Where it began..
Founders Travis Garone and Luke Slattery set their plan in motion. While the original idea of growing a Mo was simply in aid of ‘bringing it back’, it quickly evolved into a fundraiser for men’s health and prostate cancer. The guys were inspired by a friend’s mother, who was fundraising for breast cancer at the time. The original 30 friends, called together through an email challenge named ‘Are you man enough to be my man’, were each required to contribute $10 to the cause. They also needed to commit to growing out their Mo for the month.
It grew fast.
Just one year later they had set up a website and taken their campaign into Queensland. This resulted in nearly 500 participants and took their total raised to $54,000. Their subsequent donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, at the time, was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received. Fast forward to 2018, where almost 85,000 people registered with Movember to help ‘Change the face of Men’s Health’. Those participants raised over a million dollars – of which nearly 80% was donated to men’s health initiatives – a percentage that the organisation is very proud of.
Now it’s changing lives – globally.
This year, there are official Movember campaigns in 21 countries and together the cause has raised more than A BILLION DOLLARS since it’s conception. This money has been used to fund over 1,200 men’s health programs across the world. The original focus on prostate cancer has broadened to include testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity. Apart from the clear financial success of this campaign, the appearance of Mo’s all over our world each year for Movember is a vital conversation starter. It reminds us to keep our health, and the health of those we love, at the front of our mind!
Here are the facts –
- One in two Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men aged between 20-34.
- On average, nearly six men each day take their own life in Australia.
- More than 15,000 Australian men are living with a testicular cancer diagnosis.
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian men aged 15-44.
Looking at it this way can be confronting, and hard to take in. Whether one of these statistics has had an impact in your life or not, it is an awesome feeling to know there is a team of people across the planet who are working towards improving those realities. There is much more to this list, and more information and resources available on the Movember website – https://au.movember.com/mens-health/general
What can you do?
Sometimes, particularly if you aren’t in the category of people who can grow a moustache, this campaign can feel quite exclusive – but this is definitely not the case. A growing number of ‘Mo Sista’s’ are joining in in different ways, particularly to take part in the Move for Movember campaign. This addition to the original concept of Movember is a challenge to run or walk 60 kilometres over the month. That’s 60 kilometres for the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour, every hour, across the world.
The most important thing you can do is participate in the conversation. Simply encourage someone for their spectacular moustache or ask a friend who seems off how they are going. Check on your Dad’s last doctors’ appointment and make sure any issues are followed up. Make sure those you care about are open to conversations about health!
It has been absolutely fantastic to see the uptake of this campaign in our community so far, and it is exciting to see all the wonderful – and sometimes weird – creations on the upper lip of so many who call Port Macquarie home. Some of our team at the Westport Club are currently participating – check out their ‘questionable facial hair’!
Remember, you can donate at any time – https://au.movember.com/donate