Movember: Changing the Face of Men’s Health

Noticed an awful lot of moustaches sprouting up on the men around you this month? Welcome to Movember!

We are a global men’s health organization that encourages men and women to register on and grow or support the moustache for 30 days to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

Back in 2003 when I was challenged by my brother and some mates to grow a Mo (Aussie slang for moustache) for the month of November as a fun experiment (to see if we could put the Mo back on the face of fashion), I did not think that a decade later I would be the CEO and co-founder of a global men’s health organization that is the top non-government funder of prostate cancer research in the world.

For me, it was all just for fun — a social experiment alongside 30 other Mo Bros growing moustaches for the first time.

What amazed us back then was how many conversations and how much controversy the growth of a new moustache created. Bosses, girlfriends, family, even strangers on the street would stop, stare and ask why the moustache?

It was only after we said goodbye to our Mo’s in 2003 that we had time to reflect on how this month long journey had impacted us.

Some of us realized we weren’t that well-endowed in the upper lip area, while others grew full moustaches within a week. One thing was certain: regardless of the state of our Mo’s, they got people talking.

The following year, 2004, we decided to grow moustaches again, but this time, we were going to give everyone something to really talk about — a cause behind the Mo.

We saw that the breast cancer movement was gaining momentum at a staggering pace, but noticed there was nothing for any men’s health issue.

When we did some research into the health issues that affect men, it was surprising to learn that the incident rates of prostate cancer were comparable to rates of breast cancer in women.

But there was, and still is, a huge gap between the two causes in terms of awareness and funding.

And that sealed the deal for us -– our Movember moustaches would become for prostate cancer what the pink ribbon is for breast cancer. A hairy ribbon, that is.

That’s how Movember the charity was born.

2004 was our first year as a charitable movement. We rallied 450 of our friends to grow, were supported by the amazing ladies in our life, and raised funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).

At the end of the month we gave the single largest donation made to the PCFA — $43,000 USD.

At that point, we realized that the moustache was much more than just a lip sweater…it was a powerful tool to raise much-needed awareness and funds for a seriously underserved cause.

Over the years Movember has grown into a truly global movement. With our roots in Australia, we then began campaigns in New Zealand, the UK, US, Canada and Spain. Movember is now in 21 countries.

This video highlights that growth of the movement.

While it may sound like we are only focused on the Mo Bros, women, or Mo Sistas as we refer to them, play a vital role in Movember by registering as a team captain and recruiting all the men in their lives to join.

Women are often the gatekeepers to a man’s health -– encouraging dads, brothers, husbands, boyfriends to take charge of their health.

If growing a moustache isn’t really your style, take a tip from Mo Sistas on how you can promote the Movember cause.

First and foremost, ask a Mo Bro if he’s had an annual health checkup and, if over 40, encourage him to speak to his doctor about a prostate exam.

One of the biggest factors in surviving prostate cancer is early detection, so make sure the men in your life are taking preventative measures in order to lead long and healthy lives.

Engage in the fun of Movember by hosting fundraising parties at your workplace or in your community think bake sales, fashion shows or in office happy hours.

And don’t forget to always smile at a Mo Bro and complement his Mo. That helps them grow. FACT.

You can visit the Get Involved section of our site for more ideas.

Now that my 9th Movember is well underway, I am overwhelmed by how much Movember has grown.

Already in 2012, over one million men and women have joined our moustache movement to change the face of men’s health. The impact is truly global with Movember now formally running in 21 countries.

We are funding world-class programs with our men’s health partners in survivorship, education and awareness, and research.

In 2009, we created of our own Global Action Plan (GAP), which unites the world’s leading prostate cancer researchers to collaborate on research. Over the years we have raised an incredible $299million USD making Movember the largest funder of prostate cancer programs in the world.

I’m Adam Garone, I’m an Architect of Change and men’s health ambassador. I hope you will join me this Movember or next!

About the Author

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 Adam Garone is the CEO & co-founder of Movember, the annual world-wide charity movement dedicated to changing the face of men’s health -- all through the power of the moustache. To date, over 1.9 million moustaches have been grown and supported for Movember, raising more than $299 million to change the face of men’s health. Movember began in 2003, when Adam’s brother, Travis, and friend Luke Slattery decided to bring the moustache back into fashion for a month. They convinced 30 friends, including Adam, to grow a Mo (Aussie slang for moustache) for the 30 days of Movember, formerly known as November.

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