Brace yourself: it’s that time of year again - time for men across the country to get in touch with their inner 70’s Rockstar and sport a moustache in aid of Movember.
While it might seem like an exercise in male vanity, in fact Movember raises much needed awareness and funds for a number of health issues affecting men. These include prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's suicide.
It’s not limited to Ireland. This is a worldwide movement, which started 12 years ago in Australia.It came about when two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, met in a pub in Melbourne and decided to grow moustaches for the month of November. Their aim was to bring back the moustache and had nothing to do with fundraising.
“It was just a bit of fun at first,” explains Jack O’Connor of Movember Ireland. “But they managed to rope 30 guys into sporting moustaches for the month. Then, people started to donate money and the idea of raising funds for a charity was born.
At the time, the issue of prostate cancer was getting little attention. Yet it is the second most common form of cancer in men worldwide, after skin cancer. It seemed the most obvious choice as a fund-raising cause.
The Movember movement soon spread across Australia, getting bigger every year, and eventually crossing the water to Europe. The campaign launched in Ireland in 2008 and since that time has raised millions here. It peaked in 2013 raising €2.3 millon, and last year raised over €1 million with over 10,000 people taking part.
“Generally, it gets a really good reception here. Irish men have embraced the fun aspect of Movember. I think these days they realise it’s not just catchy and cool however, it also raises money for very worthy causes.”
Although fundraising is a big part of the initiative, raising awareness is just as important. Movember aims to get people talking about prostate cancer, male mental health issues and testicular cancer.
“Men by nature don’t talk about their health issues,” says Jack. “Yet on average, they die six years earlier than women.
“Even if every man in the country walked around sporting a moustache and didn’t raise funds, we’d be happy,” he says. “It would raise awareness of issues affecting men’s health and get people talking – and that in itself would be something.”
So besides growing a moustache, how exactly can you get involved?
1. Host an Event:
This can take the form of a karaoke night, a bake sale, a cinema night or a party – anything that involves getting your friends together with the aim of raising money and awareness about men’s health.
2. Grow a Mo:
Alternatively, you can simply ‘Grow a Mo’ – or cultivate a moustache- and raise funds through private donations.
3. Take the ‘Move Challenge’:
Lastly, you can opt for the ‘Move Challenge’ which involves any form of physical activity – accomplished on your own or with others – in aid of Movember.
4. Become a 'Mo Sista':
While moustaches are generally associated with men, women, or ‘Mo Sistas’ as they’re called by the campaign, are also encouraged to get involved. They can choose to host fundraising events or take the ‘Mo Challenge’. But they can also raise awareness of issues affecting men’s health through conversations and generally encourage the men in their lives to grow a mo.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s almost Movember. Sign up today!
For more information and to sign up visit: https://ie.movember.com