Eight years ago, Australian entrepreneur Adam Garone and friends talked over beers about reviving the lost trend of the mustache. To justify the initiative, they felt it needed to be attached to a cause.
The cause chosen was prostate cancer. The movement, they decided, would be called “Movember.”
What Movember entails is the unashamed, prideful cultivation of a mustache. The rules are simple. Participants shave all facial hair on Oct. 31. Beginning Nov. 1, the first day of “Movember,” shaving the mustache region is prohibited for the duration of the month, while shaving the rest of the face is required.
Garone, the CEO of Movember, started the movement in 2003 with 30 participants in Australia but failed to raise any money. In 2004, 450 people sported a ’stache and raised more than $54,000 for prostrate cancer. By 2010, Movember had grown to nearly 450,000 international participants and raised more than $72 million. To date, Movember has raised at least $178 million across dozens of countries.
“It’s grown to be almost a global phenomenon. It’s amazing. It’s given men a way to participate – without having to put on a blue T-shirt or blue sneakers or something like that – to generate awareness for prostate cancer,” said Dan Zenka, senior vice president of communications at the U.S.-based Prostate Cancer Foundation. “It’s a wonderful phenomenon that is also reaching a younger audience. Males aged 25-40 are a very important audience, and it is really teaching them about what prostate cancer is all about and making them advocates [against] the disease.”
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, more than 16 million men worldwide are currently battling prostate cancer-related illnesses. Through the first 10 months of the year, over 33,000 men died of the disease in the U.S.
To learn more or make a donation to Movember, visit www.movember.com. Donations can be made via the site to Movember participants and teams, associated foundations and organizations, or general prostate cancer research and health. Movember is a registered not-for-profit organization that claims $0.83 of every dollar donated goes to prostate-related associations.
Those interested can also register at the site to participate in the Movember movement. Men, “Mo Bros,” and women, “Mo Sistas,” can participate in Movember and regularly send in updates of their developing mustache. Women can participate in the movement by supporting a “Mo Bro” and spreading awareness about prostate cancer.
“Movember has done more to raise awareness of prostate cancer and discussion of the disease than any other effort I can think of,” Zenka said. “Prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer is to women, and it has often lagged in awareness. Movember is changing that.”
Costa Rica residents, are you participating in Movember? Send your mustache pics to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them on our tumblr.