Movember at Laurier: What to know before growing your mo’ for men’s health

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Graphic by Kash Patel

For the entire month of November, the annual event of “Movember” asks its community members to come together to discuss and increase awareness for men’s prostate and testicular cancer, as well as men’s mental health issues — and especially suicide.

Both The Movember Foundation of Canada and clubs at Wilfrid Laurier University, like the Lazaridis Students’ Society — or LazSoc — will be hosting charity events throughout the month. 

LazSoc will be hosting Movember for the fifth time and is the first year it has an official committee dedicated to planning events.

On Nov. 1, this Thursday, LazSoc is going to be opening the festivities with their kick-off event, “Shave the Date,” in Lazaridis Hall. At 7 p.m., join them in the Clubs’ Office, where they will be explaining what will be happening and when for the rest of the month.  

“We’re going to have food, games, a photo booth. People are gonna be able to sign up their teams and music” said Zack Hijazi, President of the Movember committee.

If you aren’t able to make the event, there will be an online Movember sign up page to provide your information so they can send you updates throughout the month.

Movember as a movement offers a chance for people to share their stories, connect with others and spread recognition for a number of under-discussed and often socially inappropriate topics. 

“I am a testicular cancer survivor, so that is why I wanted to get involved. I’ve been through that whole experience and I understand how tough it is and the importance of raising awareness,” Hijazi said. 

“Personally, when I found out about this committee … I wanted to take on a bigger role. It’s just a very important cause to me, [one] that I know I have the opportunity to do great things with, so that’s why I wanted to take on the role.”

This contagious social campaign began in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. Following the decision and subsequent growth in popularity to use the moustache as the face of their movement, their research led them to their first cause.

“We started with prostate cancer and that’s because [of] the numbers,” said Travis Ambing, development manager, community for the Movember Foundation.

In the way that breast cancer support has their pink ribbon, so too does prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s health now has their “hairy ribbon,” according to Ambing. 

Their next focus was on testicular cancer, the highest diagnosed-cancer in men, between the ages of 15 and 39. Especially for younger men, general health is not often a priority.

“There’s 100 different things that run through a young guys mind. Often — and unfortunately — [testicular] health isn’t one of them,” Ambing said.

Ambing notes that continuing the conversation surrounding men’s health and mental well-ness, especially regarding suicide, is crucial.

“Men in today’s day and age, we grow up in a society that tends to personify the typical male as that stoic, quiet, strong-willed individual,” Ambing said.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2009 there were approximately 3,890 deaths attributed to suicides: 2,989 were male and 901 were female.

“What we’re really trying to do is bring suicide out of the dark, out of the shadows and into the light … talking can be live-saving,” Ambing said. 

In 15 years of annual operation, the Movember Foundation has had a total of over five million “Mo Bro’s and Sistas”: the affectionate title they use to refer to their community.

“We’ve raised 924 million dollars Canadian globally — and what’s really, really incredible is we’ve been able to fund over 1200 projects worldwide and they all surround our three main causes,” Ambing said. 

“For us, it’s all about helping stop men from dying too young. We want men to live happier, longer lives.”

There will be a number of opportunities throughout the month to get involved with Movember, either by growing out a moustache in support, hosting events, donating to the cause or simply showing your support online.

“At the end of the day it’s a very important cause. [It’s] something that’s near and dear to our hearts,” Hijazi said. 

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