BY JOE WEPPLER
November is here and with it comes one of the world’s biggest and most viral fundraising campaigns.
The Movember Foundation is a charity committed to the men’s health movement. Since 2003, millions of men and women have joined the movement and over $677 million has been raised. The Movember Foundation has also funded over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
“It’s something that we don’t usually talk about, nor do we learn in school,” said Ann Do, a second-year general business student at Conestoga.
Movember started in 2003 when two men from Melbourne, Australia – Travis Garone and Luke Slattery – challenged each other to grow a moustache for the duration of November. After recruiting 30 friends to join in on the fun, they experienced a month of questions in a time when the moustache as a fashion trend had all but disappeared. It was then that they realized the power of the moustache as an awareness raiser.
In 2011, Canadians were the biggest contributors to Movember charities of any nation. In 2012, Movember was listed as one of the world’s top 100 non-government organizations. Last year, Canadian Mo Bros and Sistas alone raised $24.1 million for the Movember Foundation.
Partners in Canada include Prostate Cancer Canada and TrueNTH. One of the driving forces behind the vast support for Movember in Canada is college and university students getting in on the trend.
“I think that any student is capable of creating change,” said Do. “It’s a creative way to get people to participate and it also has meaning behind it.”
In prior years, Conestoga has participated in the Movember movement with teams, photo contests and prizes awarded to those who wanted to support the movement.
“CSI has opted to not participate in Movember this year,” said Laurita Martynowski, the administrative assistant for Conestoga Students Inc.
However, if you want to get involved, it’s simple. Every November, men are challenged to grow – and women to support – the moustache or make a commitment to get active. These things are done to spark conversation and raise funds and awareness. You can sign up at www.Movember.com and have friends, family or colleagues donate to your efforts. All funds raised go toward supporting innovative men’s health programs across the world.
As a trend, Movember has few competitors that can match its sway. Featuring ambassadors all across the world ranging from Snoop Dogg and Brody Jenner to Mr. Clean, it’s easy to see why there is so much conversation generated every November for men’s health.
As far as causes go, it’s hard to argue against the importance of men’s health issues. According to Movember Canada, the average life expectancy for men is six years less than women. One in eight Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem every single year, and three out of four deaths by suicide are men.