I can still recall the day a few years ago our CEO, 3-time cancer survivor Doug Ulman, returned from Australia and told me, “Hey, I’d like you to see about us getting involved with this organization called Movember.” OK, I said, tell me about them. He went on to say they were this enthusiastic group of guys who wanted to bring back the moustache (a Mo in Aussie slang) in November, hence:Movember. And in the process they’d spread the word about men’s health, raise some funds, have a lot of fun and a then throw big party afterwards. Sounds good, I said – but just how big is it, we’re talking growing moustaches, after all?
Well, in 2003 it was really more of a fun, party thing with just 30 guys participating. In 2004 450 “Mo Bros” joined up and they raised $54,000 for the Australian Prostate Cancer Foundation, at that time the largest single donation that organization had ever received. And then things got really interesting. To date, more than 1.1 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have participated with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland, raising over $147 million dollars for the fight against cancer! An amazing accomplishment in the fight against cancer.
And that brings us to 2011 and about a week before the campaign begins. The beauty of Movember – aside from the styling moustache guys can grow and women support – is that participation is key, and fundraising something more organic. Look at the goals they’ve got and you’ll see why:
Awareness and educationThrough our annual campaign and funded programs we will significantly increase the understanding of the health risk that men face and encourage men to act on that knowledge.
SurvivorshipWe will fund survivorship initiatives that provide information and support for men and their families affected by prostate and other male cancers that helps them make informed decisions and improves their quality of life.
Prostate cancer researchWe will fund catalytic research and clinical trials infrastructure that leads to significantly improved diagnostic and prognostic tests and treatments to reduce the burden of prostate cancer.
Influencing change in men’s healthWe will fund research that helps to inform health policy and knowledge translation that accelerates improved health outcomes for men.
And so this basic idea for a fun 30 days in Movember has blossomed into a global men’s health campaign. We here at LIVESTRONG are proud partners with our Mo Bros and Sistas and hope that you’ll join in as well. Sign up atMovember.com, form a team, hold an event, but most importantly talk about the issues and realities surrounding men’s health to those you know and love – you never know whose life you might change in the process.