Monday, November 15, 2010

Movember. Or, "Why I look like an idiot"

I wouldn't exactly call me an activist, or even someone who is partial to charities or fundraising. However, there are a few things that bother me enough to the point of taking action. One is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of breast cancer nor do I not support the millions of women who have fought, or currently are fighting, breast cancer. It's an exceptionally devastating malady, and I feel for all involved.

What does bother me, however, is the marketing of the cause. Slap some pink or a ribbon on something, say that a portion of the proceeds are going to support the Susan J. Komen foundation or something and you're golden. I mean, jesus christ, KFC had pink buckets to raise money for breast cancer. Kentucky Fried effing Chicken. Let that sink in folks, the bastion of health that is fast food fried chicken even cashed in on the pink craze. Never mind that heart disease kills millions more women than breast cancer, after all a pink "Save the Tatas" t-shirt is much more fashionable and hip than one that says "Take the stairs" or "Put down the french fries".

Fantastic marketing. That's all there is to it. The breast cancer awareness groups have done a fantastic job in their cause marketing, and as such I applaud them. Every cause should have all of their needs met. Seriously, they should. However, causes have to fight for each, increasingly sparse, donation dollar. So, I will do my best to make sure that smaller organizations and lesser-known causes are not lost in the cause marketing world.

Men have always been on the outskirts of the cause marketing world. After all, erectile dysfunction meds are covered more readily than bone marrow transplants, insulin or statins. Men are supposed to be virile, indestructible and are supposed to help out the fairer sex in their silly little "causes" while they go to their big, bad jobs and bring home the bacon.

This ridiculously antiquated way of thinking also leads to many health problems inflicting men worldwide. Men are far less likely to see a doctor for a health issue, let alone for a regular yearly examination. They don't want to be seen as weak. They definitely don't talk about their health issues at work, or with their friends or in the locker room at the gym. Add the fact that men really don't want to talk about "sensitive" issues like prostate or testicular cancer, and it gets worse.

Sure, we have spokesmen like Lance Armstrong and Phil Kessel, who proved that testicular cancer can be beaten, can afflict even the most finely-tuned athletes, and can hit at any age, but the stigma is still there.

So, what can I do? Enter Movember.
The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

"Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia.  The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health.  Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia - representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

I ask you to support Movember. Support me. Do it for your fathers, your grandfathers, your husbands, sons and brothers. Do it for the men and women who love us. Prostate and Testicular cancer can strike any man at any age. Check yourself, check your partner, take your health into your own hands.

· 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime
· 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime

This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to support the great work of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.  To help, you can either:

-  Click this link http://us.movember.com/mospace/785214/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
-  Write a check payable to Movember, referencing my name or Registration Number 785214 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 2726, Venice, CA 90294-2726

The money raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others, through the world’s most promising prostate cancer research and LIVESTRONG’s programs that support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit
http://us.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs/.

 
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