Men grow beards for cancer awareness, women provide mo-ral support
This month, men throughout the country are committing to support men's health by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins.
Movember was started in an effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer and other forms of cancer that particularly affect men. In order to participate in Movember, men must agree not to shave for the entire month of November to show their support for cancer awareness.
Movember co-founder Adam Garone went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to introduce the campaign to America.
"He wanted to implement a campaign that started in Australia," said Jan Wolterstorff, vice president of Movember Initiatives for the PCF.
According to Tom Whiteside, director of Grassroots Engagement for Movember, Garone started the initiative in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia in 2003. A few years later, he brought the idea to America.
"It was sort of a joke," Whitaker said.
In November 2003, Whitaker said Garone and a friend were discussing the disappearance of mustaches, or "Mos" as they are called in Australia, as a fashion trend. They decided it would be a good idea to grow their facial hair as a way to bring the trend back. According to Whiteside, the good-natured joke spiraled into a lot of questions about these men and their "grizzly" state.
"Next year, they came back and said 'Let's do something charitable,'" he said.
Wolterstorff said that PCF's partnership with Movember is a way to change the face of men's health.
"We're focusing our efforts on prostate cancer research," she said. "We wanted to rally around prostate cancer not being discussed."
In the past, women have been a lot more proactive than men when it comes to cancer awareness, Wolterstorff said. She said the "moe" is changing all of that.
"Men don't wanna talk about anything below the waist," she said. "Movember is changing a generation of men who are now, because of growing a hairy mustache, starting conversation."
Wolterstorff said there has been a lot of support from people involved with Movember when it comes to getting more research done about cancer.
"They have contributed over $10 million to PCF for research," she said. "We expect to double that this year."
Not only have PCF and Movember collaborated to bring awareness to cancer, but students also played a key role in making the purpose of Movember known.
"When Adam brought this campaign, it was the support of the college community that started this off the ground," she said.
Whiteside says that Movember is a great way to get guys talking about health.
"It's a worldwide movement that encourages men to grow moustaches for men's health," he said. "We think it's important that men change their habits."
Whiteside said that not only is participation from "Mo Bros," or the men who participate in Movember, important, but the involvement of "Mo Sistas" is also imperative.
"Women tend to be the gateway to health. They're normally the ones who encourage men to go to the doctor," he said. "Movember is for everybody, not just men."
Asian studies and international trade major Rob Miller said that, though he does not plan to cut out his shaving rituals for the month, he recognizes the importance Movember has when it comes to cancer awareness.
"Think about it. It involves two of the most common things that men have: goatees and cancer," Miller said.
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