It’s that time of year again. Here at mruk this month, I’ve been growing a moustache along with a few of my esteemed colleagues.
This is the second year I’ve participated in Movember. You might wonder why on earth I’d grow a moustache for an entire month, and look like this on purpose. In fact, due to the fun nature of the event, it is often dismissed (in my experience anyway) as a trivial or even stupid thing to do. But the charity puts a fun twist on a serious issue.
Movember supports men living with prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. Prostate cancer in particular is a cause I care a lot about, and I wanted to take the opportunity to raise some money for it.
I must admit that, compared with other fund-raising activities, Movember is not the most ‘active’. Some people run or cycle long distances to raise money for charity, which involves hours of training and preparation. I’m just growing some facial hair. But the goal of Movember is not just raising funds but more crucially raising awareness. I ask you – how many people in your local pub have recently run a 10k for charity? You wouldn’t know, but I bet you notice the people there who’ve been sporting unusual moustache this month! You’re also no doubt aware of a number sportsmen & media personalities who’ve displayed ever thickening facial hair throughout the month.
One the key reasons for the poor state of men’s health is the lack of awareness and willingness to talk openly. The perception that ‘real men’ don’t discuss their health causes unnecessary deaths through lack of awareness and diagnosis. Movember seeks to overcome these barriers by linking men’s health issues with something macho – a moustache. This gives men’s health a platform for discussion which does make a genuine difference.
Research conducted by Movember last year found that after participating, 79% discussed their health with friends, family, and colleagues, 70% talked about specific men’s health issues and 67% recommended that someone else see a doctor. In influencing people’s lives, it is clearly doing a great job – not to the mention the £276 million is has raised since it started in 2003.
That’s why I’m proud to be a ‘Mo Bro’, and to risk looking ridiculous every November, or Movember I should say.