Moustache Mania

Movember raises whiskers, awareness & funds in fight against prostate cancer

By P. J. Ellison

There are so few things a man can grow to grab a woman’s attention. Muscles? Maybe. A vegetable garden? Sure. Women like to eat. But there’s just something about a well-groomed moustache with panache that woos women. Well, some women.

But the important thing come the month of November is that moustaches get other guys gabbing about other guys’ moustaches. The Movember movement is all about men becoming their own gender’s best walking and talking billboards for health and, in particular, prostate cancer.

“Let’s face it, one of the biggest obstacles for men is our reluctance to broach the subject of health issues at all,” says Danny Wurtzel, a Montreal moustache maven and Movemeber participant the last two years. “My dad was only 62 when he passed. He died of prostate cancer six months after diagnosis.”

Danny says for this year’s Movember, in memory of his dad (a Houdini expert and magic aficionado) he’ll mix it up a bit by trying ‘the abracadabra’ on for size. “Thirty days isn’t a lot of time to grow something that flashy,” he says. “But at the end of the day, if one guy spots my ridiculous moustache and starts thinking Movember and the message, then it’s worth it.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Movember, the world’s largest non-government fundraiser for the battle versus prostate cancer. “Saving lives starts with conversation. Conversation leads to facts,” says Brigitte Filiatrault of Montreal’s Movember chapter. The facts are that prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men. And according to Prostate Cancer Canada, one in seven men will be diagnosed with the disease.

The good news? Over 90 percent of prostate cancer cases are curable if detected and treated in their earliest stages. “My dad was a typical man’s man,” recalls Danny. “He was the strong silent type. He loathed visiting doctors. But the truth is, a standard check-up would have probably saved him.”

Memories of Melbourne

The first whiskers of a Movember movement sprouted 10 years ago in Melbourne Australia, when two mates challenged each other to grow a moustache for the duration of November. They experienced a month of inquisitive conversation as a result of their newly acquired facial hair, and the power of the Mo as a conversation starter and awareness raiser was realized.

Today, Mo growth is seen around the globe each November. In 2012, official campaigns were held in 21 countries across five continents. Canadian participants alone saw over 250,000 participants raise over $40 million. Funds raised go toward education, research and survivorship programs. The programs are facilitated through Movember Foundation initiatives and Prostate Cancer Canada.

RULES OF THE ’STACHE

  • Once registered at Movember.com you must begin the first day of November with a clean slate... er, clean-shaven face.
  • For the entire month, men must grow, groom and admire their moustaches in the mirror
  • There is to be no joining of your new growth to the sideburns, that’s a beard!
  • There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin. That’s a goatee, guys.
  • Each Mo bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman. And hey, why not continue the trend through all 12 months of the year?

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