Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I first came across the movement of “Movember” when a friend of mine studying in Australia shared a link to the website (www.movember.com) on my facebook page. The obvious manipulation of the spelling caught my eye immediately. So what is Movember?

Movember is a charity which originated in Australia in 2003. It aims to raise funds for and spread awareness about men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer. It began as a small idea which slowly spread to the rest of the world, making it the global phenomenon that it is today. The rules are simple: grow a moustache from scratch during the month of “Movember”, seeking donations for the cause from friends and family. The proceeds go to various cancer research foundations such as LIVESTRONG, the Irish Cancer Society, Beyond Blue and The Prostate Cancer Foundation. But why is Movember something you need to know about?

Men have been known to shrug off health issues, trying to be (for lack of a better word) “manly”. We are reluctant to see doctors about any illnesses or go for medical checkups just to act tough. But we are far (putting it nicely) from invincible. Prostate Cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer. So it’s obvious that this is an issue that cannot and should not be ignored. Getting yourself checked and, if necessary, treated right now reduces your risks of diagnosis at a later, more vulnerable age.

Movember uses social media (Twitter,Facebook) to convey its purpose through both humorous and moving accounts from its members. Participation isn't restricted to men alone, but women too (let me explain). The men groom their moustaches during the month and are called “MoBros”. The women are charged with recruiting and supporting their MoBros and are hence called “MoSistas”. Numerous celebrities participating in the event including actors Brad Pitt, Kevin Connolly (known for playing ‘E’ in Entourage), James Franco (Spiderman, 127 Hours), rapper Snoop Dogg (Lion), Australian Cricketer Andrew Symonds, British comedian Stephen Fry, singer/song-writer JoeJonas, actress Malin Akerman (Watchmen) and many more.

Last year I grew a Fu-Manchu (think Hulk Hogan), donating my upper lip to the cause for 30 days (like you can see in the picture below).  My moustache (Mo) sparked quite a few conversations, and no doubt generated some laughs; all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for cancers affecting men. I was able to raise $330 for the cause with the help of my friends and family, who supported my campaign with their generous donations. This 2012, I intend to beat last year’s total.  I can’t help but cross my fingers, hoping that I succeed! So if you are interested, please check out www.movember.com for more information. Registration is free and as easy as 1-2-3.

As I eagerly anticipate the arrival of Movember, I will leave you with one of my campaign slogans from last year: 

Fu-Manchu inspired mo last Movember

- By Supratik Mukherjee

The writer is an engineering student specializing in computer engineering in Manipal University, Dubai.