The month of the moustache
Growing your lip eyebrow for men’s health
The start of November is heralded by Halloween hangovers, Daylight Savings time, dropping temperatures and freshly shaven faces signalling moustache month, better known as Movember.
The annual growing of whiskers on the upper lip started in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 with just 30 people wondering where the moustache had gone and if a resurgence was possible.
Inspired by one of the founder’s mothers who was raising money for breast cancer, it was decided that those who grew and sported the mouth-merkin for the month of November would give $10 to cancer research.
It wasn’t until 2004 that the website and organization Movember.com was started. Money was only raised for prostate cancer that year, but a staggering $54,000 was collected. The following year, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia became a partner to the organization, increasing Movember’s popularity immensely.
Men’s mental health also became part of the Movember family, and the organization has skyrocketed since.
Canada became a participating country in 2007, and the organization was granted official charity status in 2011. That year, over 850,000 people were signed up and $125.7 million was raised worldwide.
Joel Ayotte, a 21-year-old bartending supervisor in Calgary, isn’t officially part of a Movember team this year, but continues to support Movember through donating tips at his workplace, and by the womb-broom on his face.
“I originally did it with a work group because every guy I work with had been affected by or someone close to them had been affected by what were considered men’s health issues,” Ayotte said.
According to the official Canadian Movember website, the money in Canada goes toward four main sources: Prostate Cancer Canada, the Global Action Plan, Canadian Men’s Health Network (CMHN), and awareness and education.
Funds that reach Prostate Cancer Canada go primarily towards research, covering all facets of dealing with cancer, from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment and support for those with prostate cancer.
The Global Action Plan is a program launched by Movember to connect the world’s leading prostate cancer researchers to each one another. The goal of collaboration is to accelerate and optimize the research in the field of prostate cancer globally.
Money that goes to CMHN is focused on mental health issues and awareness. Statistics from the Movember website indicate that four out of five people who commit suicide are men, and one in five people will have a mental illness in their lifetime.
CMHN focuses on increasing understanding about metal health issues and advancing treatments for men in Canada.
The organization’s slogan, “Changing the face of men’s health,” is an example of this. There is an ongoing stigma that men have about discussing their health problems. Not only does a man grow a moustache, physically changing his face, but mentally a man is altered through the works of Movember.
Sporting a ‘stache is a symbol for making males aware of their health problems, removes the stigma by bringing these issues to the forefront, and inspires them to makes changes about their health.
As November — and more importantly Movember — progresses, keep your eyes peeled for epic upper lip plumage and consider donating to a team or directly through the Movember and Sons Canadian website at ca.movember.com.