We catch up with Bill McIntyre, one of the Movember organisers for new countries, to find out how growing some saucy facial hair can save lives.
So, what is Movember?
The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.
How does it work?
Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple: on Movember 1, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.
What’s the goal?
The aim of Movember is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.
The moustache is here to change the actions and attitudes of men when it comes to their health; and we will achieve this by harnessing the power of the Mo; a badge, if you like, worn by all Mo Bros.
The Mo is a catalyst for change, prompting both public and private conversation, and through the continued growth of a moustache during November, we will continue to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment for men around the world.
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. The moustache is is the catalyst by which Movember intends to bring about real change through the awareness generated by the simple act of growing a Mo.
Why is it important to do something like this?
On average men die five to six years younger than women. The suicide rate is four times higher for men than women and more than five men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses. Hard hitting facts; especially when you consider that there is no biological disadvantage that puts men at greater risk than women and according to recent research up to half of male cancer cases could be prevented by making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The reasons for the current state of men’s health are numerous and complex but it appears that the biggest issue is the way in which men think about their health; preventative health being something many men just don’t compute and take action on.
So. . . how can a moustache help?
Awareness and education alters behaviour and mind-sets, it gradually breaks down barriers, removes stigmas and brings about real change. Movember wants men to take responsibility for their health, prevent illness by leading a healthy lifestyle and understand the symptoms and signs in both themselves and others so they can appreciate when and how to seek help if it is needed.
How did Movember start?
The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realised the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course that would go on to create a global men’s health movement.
In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received.
Where has it spread?
Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate, with formal campaigns in Australia, UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Finland. In addition, Movember is aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health cause right across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between. In 2010, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 447,808, with over one million donors raising €55m for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.
Qatar hasn’t had a Movember event yet: How can we get started?
Movember has not officially launched in Qatar yet, however you can still be part of the movement that is changing the face of men’s health, by choosing a country to raise funds for on the global Movember website.
Can we organise our own events?
Yes. Get your colleagues to register and join your team. Remember Mo Sistas can register as team captains or join your team to support the men in their life. Raise awareness on your company intranet and email. We can help draft this with you with some great images and clips, Mo history and other moustache facts.
Put the challenge out to other departments or offices to start a team, join your network and see who grows the best Mo’s and has the biggest team. Bring everyone together on Monday 1 Movember to celebrate the start of the Movember journey and kick off the month. Make sure everyone comes to work clean shaven on Monday or even shave people down at work. Then enjoy the rest of the month growing your mo, and do some fundraising along the way. Celebrate the end of the month with a Mo Party and you can judge the best mos of the month.
Want to get involved? It’s easy! Go to www.movember.com for more information, to register or to find out how to start your team, for Mo Bros and their Sistas.