Chances are you’ve heard of Movember, the non-profit project that raises money for cancer and by asking men to grow their facial hair for 30 days, and then shave it all off at a mustache party. The fact that Movember is now an international phenomenon is nothing short of spectacular, considering the history of this decade-old event. Movember started around 2003 in Australia: CEO Adam Garone explains in a 2011 Ted Talk, “the conversation turned to 70s fashion — how everything seems to come back into style. And after a few more beers, we said, ‘What about the mustache? Why hasn’t that come back? Whatever happened to the mustache?’…. The day ended with a challenge: to bring the mustache back.”
The Rules of Movember?
1. You must begin with a clean-shaven face on November 1st.
2. For the entire month of November, you must grow and groom a mustache.
3. No beards. No goatees. Mustaches* only.
*Yes, milk mustaches are also acceptable.
4. You must act like a “true country gentleman” throughout the month.
There were temporary hurdles, and the movement’s first year was modestly successful. Then, the founders started thinking about making it meaningful, and got inspired by all the women around them, what they were doing for breast cancer, and that there’s nothing for men’s health.
The idea is awareness, education, and an opportunity to try something new and fun with facial hair while working toward a cause. But when the movement expanded worldwide, it was met with skepticism. When Movember first came to the US in 2007, it was fairly unknown and localized to a few markets. Not many people knew that it was one of the largest and most successful men’s health charities in Australia.
It eventually caught on and now Movember is one of the most successful campaigns in the fight against prostate and testicular cancer, and in the funding of men’s mental health initiatives. To date, the campaign has raised over $550 million across 21 countries and is driving innovation in research and patient-centered programs. And all that from a talking about mustaches in Australia.
So how can you and your child participate? Well, since growing a mustache is out of the question, you could encourage your beloved men to get their yearly checkup done this month.