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Monday, April 12, 2021

Manly Movember: a hairy highlight on health

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Women have done an admirable job championing for health issues, particularly the “pink” campaign for breast cancer awareness.

In November, men step up for their health. But don’t expect a color to highlight the month. Instead, you will see men sporting mustaches in support of “Movember.”

“This gives us a voice,” said Bryan Kendall, “chief of ‘stache’” or chairman for the Movember Indy committee. “We see (other organizations) doing great things. They have ribbons, but we have fuzzy reminders on our upper lips.”

Beginning with 30 “Mo Bros” in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 to over 4 million Mo’s by 2013, Movember, through the growth of a moustache, has become a global movement that hopes to change the face of men’s health.

Moustaches are called “Mo’s” in Australia, which helps explains the movement’s title.

Movember’s goal is to get men to grow moustaches and the community to support them by creating an innovative, fun and engaging annual Movember campaign. Kendall said the mustache simply serves as a support symbol; an icebreaker giving men the opportunity to share information about health concerns like prostate cancer; and raises awareness of the Movember Foundation.

Official rules state that once participants sign up at Movember.com, they begin with a clean-shaven face and can use the month to grow and groom a moustache possibly into a “fu man chu” or a handle bar style, for example.

The rules also encourage men to use their moustache to create conversations. Men must also conduct themselves like a true gentleman; and also beards, goatees and fake moustaches do not count.

Monies raised go toward the Movember campaign, which supports the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Livestrong Foundation (which advocates for testicular cancer), and mental health research. This year Kendall said the local group hopes to raise $150,000 in the city of Indianapolis and $200,000 for the state of Indiana. There will also be various Movember events happening around Indianapolis, a “Moustache Dache” Nov. 23, and an End of Movember gala happening in December.

Besides monetary donations, the organization seeks to create awareness about certain health risks men are currently facing.

Movember Indy Committee Member Mike Sale said unfortunately, men sometimes exhibit a macho attitude and don’t discuss their health, but this movement lets the public know men do care about their health.

“There are sobering facts on men’s health, especially in the African-American community. Those discussions need to be had because many of these issues are preventable,” said Sale. “Men, go to your doctor, look at your family history and be honest with yourself and know you are not invincible.”

Sale got involved after his father passed away from cancer in 2010. He searched for a cause to honor his memory and thought Movember was a perfect fit. He is also diligent about his own health.

George Milberger, Movember Indy committee member used November to grow a moustache, but when he learned there was a true cause behind the action, he too began looking at his own health and issues other men face. He knows it’s not a competition, however he states that if you look at the numbers, men’s health arguably needs more attention.

“Growing a moustache is fun, but cancer’s not fun for anyone. Early detection is key. It will sneak up on you if you’re not proactive,” adds Milberger.

This cause is for men, but women can also get involved with Movember by becoming a “Mo Sista.” Mo Sistas can sign up, start a team, and fundraise – they do everything Mo Bros do, they just don’t grow a Mo. Mo Sistas can also become champions of Movember by rallying the men in their lives to join the movement, grow moustaches and have important conversations about men’s health.

Movember Indy hopes to evangelize with the message that men’s health is important and encourage people to get involved.

“Sign up and dedicate yourself to a month of moustachery,” said Kendall.

For more information or to learn about Movember Indy events, email Movember.indy@gmail.com or visit movemberindy.com. You can also visit the national website at US.Movemember.com.

Grow further for the cause

For men who want to go further than a mustache and don a beard, goatee or intricate side burns, this November, there is also a cause called “No-Shave November” also known as “Noshember.”

The goal of No-Shave November is to grow men’s health awareness by embracing hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.

To participate, Sign up for No-Shave November, stop shaving and starting raising funds for the American Cancer Society. Men can donate the money they’d usually spend on shaving and grooming for a month to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

For more information, visit no-shave.org.

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