The Campaign, The Cause, The Mustache

I can’t grow a mustache. This is both a good and a bad thing. It means that I don’t have to shave my face regularly, but it also means that I have to find more creative ways to support and raise awareness about Movember.



Some background: Movember originated in 1999 in a little town called Melbourne. You may have heard of it – it’s in Australia. Since then it has become a worldwide movement, with formal campaigns in countries ranging from South Africa to New Zealand to, of course, Canada. 2010 saw almost 500,000 registered Mo Bros & Sistas (as they’re called) raising $76.8 million – nearly double the amount from 2009.
Not all mustaches are created equally, but they do all follow the same rules.

  1. Once registered, each mo bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face.
  2. For the entire month of Movember each mo bro must grow and groom a moustache.
  3. There is to be no joining of the mo to your side burns. (That’s considered a beard.)
  4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars at your chin. (That’s considered a goatee.)
  5. Each mo bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.

The UBC campus in particular all the sudden becomes ripe with facial hair. Men of all ages and follicular growth ability sacrifice their upper lip for a good cause. Some men grow impressive ‘staches in short periods of time, while others attempt to deny the apparent and insist they have facial hair. I’ve even seen one guy dye his. In the end, it’s not about the size of the ‘stache, but what’s behind it – a charitable man.the-magnum-1024x369
Movember aims to raise awareness about a variety of men’s issues, including depression, but the one that is most well known and hits closest to home for me, is that of prostate cancer. In 2002, my grandpa was diagnosed with prostate cancer for the second time. Although I vaguely remember the first time, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. Seven year old me had no idea that the reason we went to Disneyland was because of this diagnosis (unfortunately I couldn’t convince my parents to repeat this trip the second time). I have witnessed cancer before and since (my great aunt, grandma, and uncle have all had cancer), but none have been as devastating as his. He passed away in 2004 after a long and painful battle with prostate cancer. The silver lining of his diagnosis is that both my dad and my uncle are more vigilant about checking for cancer, which will hopefully mean that they’ll never die (a girl can dream). I look at Movember as a month that alerts men to this cause, without them having to go through the same painful lesson.


Men who have had a father or brother who had prostate cancer are at a higher risk of prostate cancer, and 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetimes. This is, according to Prostate Cancer Canada, on par with breast cancer.  90% of cases are treatable and curable in their early stages, but since prostate cancer doesn’t show symptoms in this stage, it’s not easily detectable without exams. In fact, 1 in 28 men will die of prostate cancer (source). The examinations are invasive and more research is needed in order to make them safer. If you’re over 40 (or more likely someone you know is over 40 in which case tell them this), make sure to ask your doctor about early detection and for more information.
Although Movember raises money for prostate cancer research, it’s most important function is to raise awareness. Many participants don’t actually register, choosing to just grow a mustache because it’s expected or as an excuse not to shave for a month. But the mere presence of their upper lip facial ’do is that it acts as a reminder to other men (and women with males in their life) that prostate cancer is a reality and something to look out for.
It might be too late to participate in 2011, but if you’re able to growth a mustache (or just think you can), keep it in mind for next year. What you can do – this month and for the rest of your lives – is support those who do by complimenting their efforts, making a donation, or telling a man you love that maybe he should get a little friendlier with his GP.
As for me – from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all Mo Bros and Sistas for your support and dedication to this cause! If my grandpa were still alive, I’m sure he’d be just as impressed and grateful.


Participating in Movember? It’s grooming time! Check out this flowchart to see what mustache best suits you!

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