Whether you grow one for fun or for serious fundraising, Movember is a month-long event that promotes moustaches for male wellness.
Movember, now in its 13th year, encourages men to “grow their mo” to raise funds for male issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide.
At a time when facial hair is well in fashion, many modern men are making the ultimate sacrifice – shaving off their hipster beards and perfectly groomed growths to follow Movember’s number-one rule of a fresh-faced start from November 1.
Two of those young men are Jordan Gillespie, 21, and Zac Herron, 20, both from Sydney, who as a team have already raised $500 for the cause.
“Normally, me and a group of friends all mess around and grow some shocking facial hair and have a good laugh over it,” said Mr Gillespie.
“But this year we all thought, ‘Why not actually do Movember?’, so we put a page together to see how much money we can raise by just doing what we normally do.
“Even seeing someone else sporting a solid ‘crumb collector’ it just lets people know, that people are there for them. Open for a conversation, that might help out.”
For Mr Herron, what started out as a bit of fun took on an even deeper meaning.
“At the time, I just wanted to grow a mo for the sake of it,” he said.
“Quite selfishly, I didn’t take into consideration the thought of raising money, until I found out my younger cousin was diagnosed with cancer that day, for the third time, at age 17.”
Mr Herron said he was shocked at the high rates of testicular cancer and men’s health issues in general.
“My younger cousin having cancer gave me a kick up the ass to do some good for once,” he said.
“It would help a lot if men as a gender, one on one or as a group, just asked one another, ‘how you going?’.”
Brandon Lacey, 19, of the Hills District in Sydney, is going the extra mile this month.
In addition to growing a mo, Mr Lacey is aiming to run 190km, 10km for every year of his life, throughout the month, as part of the organisation’s Move challenge. The challenge encourages participants to get active to promote the cause.
“I’m most invested in being part of Movember as an example for people to look at and say that they can do it too,” Mr Lacey told The Newsroom.
“Mental and physical are both linked in various ways with each effecting the other and I want to help people see that by working towards bettering both aspects, they can become healthier overall, as well as showing others that they are taking an active role in their own health.”
Like many men, Mr Lacey has had his own struggles with mental and physical health and aims to set an example for others and prove that he can better himself, while finding a way to open up a comfortable conversation.
“Men’s health is something that doesn’t get talked about a lot because most of the time, men are told that they shouldn’t talk because they have to be strong,” said Mr Lacey.
“I really like the angle that the Movember Foundation takes to opening up the space for people to have that conversation about men’s health that individuals are too afraid to have most of the time. I’ve seen a lot of men, both young and old, who are struggling with their health, both mental and physical and I thought that getting involved with this big cause would be a good way to kick start conversations in which people could feel comfortable talking about their health.”
In addition to growing facial hair and getting active, Movember also encourages people to get together as a group and host an event.
Movember began in Melbourne in 2003 when two mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, met over a couple of beers to see if they could find a way to bring the moustache back in fashion. Between 2004-2007 the event not only spread across the nation, but across the world with countries as diverse as Taiwan, the Czech Republic and El Salvador joining in. It has also won support from many organisations from Qantas to Beyond Blue. Over 5 million people of both genders have partaken in Movember since its inception. – Ashleigh Cant
Photo from Movember Foundation Australia’s Facebook.