What is Movember?
Today thousands of men, including myself, will start the month of November growing moustaches in honour of raising awareness about men’s health. For us we are taking part in Movember! The Movember Foundation is hugely important for helping to raise awareness about men’s health, both physical and mental, and is responsible for funding hundreds of research projects searching to cure male cancers.
A Brief History of Movember
From its humble beginnings in a bar in Australia, Movember has become one of the biggest success stories ever for men’s health. Watch the video below for a 1 minute run down.
For a full history of Movember go to https://ca.movember.com/about/history
Why does Movember matter?
If this isn’t a big enough reason to grow a moustache for a month I don’t know what is!
Why I do Movember
I can’t really remember the first time I heard about the Movember Foundation but I can certainly tell you why I have taken part in it over the last 5 years.
In 2006 while doing a self-exam I discovered a lump where it shouldn’t have been. Initially I brushed it off as nothing and proceeded to ignore it for a week or so. When the lump hadn’t gone I knew it was time for a trip to the doctor. The doctor I saw was really empathetic and obviously insisted on doing an exam themselves (it’s never going to be fun but 5 minutes humility to potentially save my life, that’s a fair price). Post exam the doctor told me there was definitely something there and she was going to refer me to a urologist.
After a couple of nail-biting weeks I saw the urologist who then, because I have had previous hernia repairs, decided to refer me for an ultrasound. Surgery around male genetalia can leave you at a greater risk of developing testicular cancer. The ultrasound appointment took even longer to come through and the nail-biting wasn’t getting any better as naturally I was concerned about my forthcoming appointment.
Finally I had the ultrasound, which was a really weird experience especially when I could see some of my most intimate parts on the screen. Thankfully the ultrasound determined that I didn’t have anything to worry about and the lump I had was twisted scar tissue from an old hernia repair. That said due to the increased risk I have of developing issues I was given an open appointment so I can refer myself if ever I am concerned in the future.
During this whole process I cannot begin to tell you how mentally harrowing it felt. I was scared that I had cancer, I thought I would have to have surgery to remove part or all of my scrotum, and a whole host of other really unpleasant thoughts and emotions (word of warning never look up symptoms or treatments for conditions on Google, that’s enough to scare the living life out of you!).
After my ordeal I was always more conscious of my own health and from the moment I heard about Movember I decided it was time for me to help raise awareness about the importance of self-examinations and to do my bit to help raise awareness and funds for the foundation. After all if I had ended up having cancer it could have saved my life by detecting it early on.
Since I started doing Movember I haven’t raised a huge amount of money but I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had about my moustaches (and one year a mohican). For me every one of those conversations is why I continue to grow a moustache every year. If me telling my story to someone and explaining what Movember is all about is enough to get them to go and see their doctor or to start self examinations then it is worth it.
With most male cancers being pretty treatable and having very good survival rates if caught early enough, anything that can be done to get guys checking themselves is completely worth it. Getting in tune with your body is all it takes and I implore anyone who does not check themselves or go for a regular MOT, to start doing so. 5 minutes embarrassment is nothing to potentially save your life. The same goes for mental health. If you are struggling mentally go and talk to someone. Suffering in silence leads to far worse consequences. Suicide amongst men is rife worldwide with more and more men continuing to go through life in silence about their issues, it is not worth it! I have personally been touched by suicidal friends. To watch them suffering is hugely distressing but to know I was able to be there for them because they opened up to me was very humbling and I am grateful they felt safe enough to do so. Mental issues can affect anyone and can’t always be seen on the surface.
How can you help?
Getting involved with Movember as a moustache growing Mo Bro or supporting Sista is really easy. Firstly sign up on their website, it only takes 2 minutes. This year you have 3 options of how to get involved:
- Be a Mo Bro and grow a moustache (or be a Mo Sista and support men throughout Movember)
- New this year is Move for Movember – if growing a moustache is just too ‘out there’ for you then make a pledge to move everyday to improve your health
- Do both of the above
If you don’t want to get involved but want to support us Mo Bros and Sistas please donate to this amazing charity. Follow this link to my donation page and make a donation, every little helps and it all goes to the Movember Foundation.
This year Movember for me is going to be slightly different as I am in the midst of job hunting. Rather than being completely clean shaven and growing my Mo, I am going to keep my goatee and grow a moustache to accompany it. When I find a job and no longer need to worry about interviews I will shave the goatee off to leave just my Mo.
Will I look ridiculous? Most likely. My moustache takes ages to grown, so much so I’ve even taking to naming it, Smudge, as that’s what it tends to look like most of the month. In addition to growing a Mo I have also taken the pledge to Move for Movember so I will be doing some form of moving every day even if that is going for a walk around the block in the pouring rain. Please support me in my Movember journey, this truly is one amazing foundation working to improve the lives of all men.