Movember celebrates its tenth anniversary this fall. That’s ten years spent raising funds and awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, along with highlighting men’s health in general. Since its beginnings in Australia, this annual campaign spread worldwide to become the world’s largest non-government funded organization donating to prostate cancer research.
“Last year, we eclipsed our goal of 1 million participants worldwide and raised over $147 million,” says Mark Hedstrom, country director for the U.S.
Movember is a simple, fun effort that works like this: Participants register online and sign up sponsors. Then, on Nov. 1, the Movember men shave their faces clean and for the rest of the month grow a mustache. In Australia, the nickname for a mustache (or moustache, as it is spelt there) is a mo’.
Despite the millions Movember puts into research, Hedstrom says an equally important goal of the campaign is having men take control of their health.
“We want men to think November, then Movember, and then think about getting a health check and telling other men to get a check up,” says Hedstrom. “We want men to be reminded by Movember to make a year-long commitment to their health.”
This year, there’s a new approach.
“In our tenth campaign, we’ve introduced a new theme: Generation Moustache,” says Hedstrom. “It’s been 10 years and there’s a generation of men who have grown with us. We call them Gen-Mo. My father hadn’t had a mustache since the 1970s, but he came on board for Movember.”
An age range does not define Gen-Mo, though. “This is sons, fathers, and grandfathers all in a conversation about their health.”
This year, Movember has two new initiatives:
Move: “We’ve shortened ‘Movember’ to ‘Move,’” says Hedstrom. “Sitting is the new smoking, so we encourage men to get up and move — to walk upstairs instead of taking the elevator; walk short distances instead of taking the car. Get out and be active.”
Mo-Rated Barber: “Men aren’t generally comfortable talking about health, but one place they are is a barbershop. A study of New York barbershops where blood pressure units were installed found that men started getting their blood pressure checked. We want men to go to the barbershop and say, ‘Hey, when did you last get a prostate check-up?’”
On Oct. 29, Gillette is hosting a pre-Movember shave-down at Gillette Stadium with six New England athletes participating in Movember — Patriots players Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater and Nate Solder, and Revolution players Kevin Alston, Diego Fagundez and Chris Tierney — who are raising money for Movember’s Team Gillette.