While the month of October was dedicated to breast cancer, November is similarly dedicated to prostate cancer, under the catchy moniker “Movember”.
The premise is rather simple: people around the world promise to grow out their moustaches throughout the month and raise donations for charity. Then, at the end of the month, they shave the entire moustache off.
Like every social movement, Movember has to have started somewhere. In this case, that “somewhere” is Adelaide, Australia, in 1999.
It was here that the term “Movember” first enterred the public discourse, when Australian-based Seven Nightly News aired a story about a group of young men in Adelaide who had formed their own “Movember Committee” to raise money for their local RSPCA.
They even came up with the catchy slogan “Growing whiskers for whiskers”.
However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Movember became firmly associated with prostate cancer.
Four friends from Melbourne, Australia — Adam Garone, Travis Garone, Luke Slattery and Justin Coughlin — inspired 26 of their friends to grow moustaches during November in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
They did it again in 2005, this time managing to bring nearly 500 people onboard and together they raised over US$40,000 (more than R870,000 in today’s money) for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
It was the largest donation the PCFA had ever received at the time.
The group would go on to form the Movember Foundation, which would be officially recognised as a charity by the Australian government in 2006. They have since gone on to raise more than US$174m (R2.8bn).
The rest, as they say, is history.
According to their website, the Movember Foundation helps fund a number of related charities all over the world such as the Prostate Cancer Research Alliance in Australia, TrueNTH Global Registry in the US and the Ironman Registry in South Africa.
Of course, one doesn’t need to sign up with the Movember Foundation in order to take part in Movember. All you have to do is promise to grow your moustache and donate to your local charity.
Look for the upcoming Movember advertising specials in your copy of the GO! & Express.