How Movember came to be (and where the money goes)

Movember began from a shared quiet beer in Melbourne between Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, two friends who were joking about reviving the moustache trend.

This was in 2003 — back when the moustache had long faded out of style (contrary to the red carpet appearances it makes today).

Garone and Slattery wanted their friends to join them in bringing back the moustache- or “mo.” They decided to turn the challenge into a men’s health and prostate cancer campaign. To raise money for the cause, they charged participants $10 each to grow a mo.

What started as a challenge between friends is now an official campaign in 20 countries. Movember Foundation and supporters have raised over $1 billion for at least 1,250 men’s health projects — and saw millions of moustaches grow along the way.

It centers around three issues that most affect men’s health; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention — in line with mental health.

Urgency to fight these issues is at an all-time-high, with men dying an average of five years earlier than women.

Both physical and mental health reasons are behind this — for instance, around 10.8 million men worldwide have prostate cancer. Among young men globally, testicular cancer is most common.

Not to mention the alarming fact that 1 man dies by suicide every minute across the world — 75 per cent of all suicides are male.

Projects funded by Movember aim to combat this crisis by engaging men around the world.

Specifically, the foundation’s Canadian division (MVC) donates to domestic programs. Take “Breaking the Ice”; a program for young hockey players to discuss mental health, or “Strength in Unity”; a project to reduce mental illness stigma among Asian Canadian males.

MVC also funds two breakthrough research pieces for prostate cancer treatment. The first is a new radiation therapy that The Lancet compared to a more effective version of chemotherapy.

The second is research for two new medicines that have been approved for use in different countries, including Canada. There’s also programs for testicular cancer research, such as the Gap5 project on relapse causes.

Clubs and student associations in the Laurier community have hosted their own campaigns for Movember. Last year, the men’s rugby team managed to raise $20,000 in less than a month, breaking the Movember fundraising record for Canadian university sports.

A range of events are meant to fundraise for the cause. Notably, the Golden Hawks hockey team had challenges and a “Movember Cup Playoff.” The Lazaridis Students Society has a committee for organizing Movember events, and has held events like Family Feud night with A-team and Wilf’s to support the cause. This year’s events can be found on their social media pages — get involved to support a happier, healthier and longer life for men everywhere.

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