I’ll bet you that – come this time of year – it’s not an infrequent thought that male facial fashion is taking a turn back to the 70s. Perhaps you have already caught yourself asking “Just what is the inspiration behind my boss’/husband’s/cab driver’s/brother’s porn-like mo?” Or maybe you’re dreading a global hipster take-over, starting with the upper-lip & subsequently spreading like everything oh-so-vintage?
You may have heard the term ‘Movember’ thrown casually about in certain circles.You may even be somewhat aware that behind the frizz lies a specific focus, namely finding a cure for prostate cancer: the male equivalent of breast cancer in terms of the number of men that die from it and are diagnosed with it. But are you acquainted with the story behind the movement? And do you know what it takes to fund an organisation that is built on growing moustaches?
Allow me to introduce Mr Adam Garone, one of the co-founders of Movember, via TEDxToronto from 2011. Starting with a few beers, a discussion about 70s fashion and a seemingly flippant challenge, and ending up with a growing global charity – the largest dedicated to its cause – Garone certainly has one inspiring journey to share. He’s dealt with rejection of support from potentially the only bodies with the most to gain from his idea – both the Australian and Canadian prostate cancer foundations – and survived near bankruptcy just as the organisation was taking off. In spite of these challenges, he has taken the necessary risks to achieve the desired outcome: the creation of an organisation that is “Changing the face of men’s health”. In a nutshell, this entails getting men engaged in health and having a better understanding of the health risks they face. Since the first Movember donations in 2005 Garone’s life has become about a moustache: boasting proudly “I am a moustache farmer, and my season is November”.
Through its 450,000 participants, or ‘celebrity ambassadors’, as Garone likes to call them, Movember managed to raise $77 million in 2010, and is now the biggest funder of prostate cancer research and support programmes worldwide. With such support Movember has outgrown its original purpose and is becoming a movement that is changing the face of research in both this sector as well as the charity sector more generally. Commenting on this, Garone jokes: “Our ribbon is a hairy ribbon”. More seriously, he describes how the organisation’s new goal is to change the fragmented way in which researchers across the world operate by bringing together the best minds in the field to define what the major priorities are for tackling prostate cancer. Through global collaboration Movember is accelerating outcomes which will lead to a future cure for the disease.
Regarding the way it is changing way the charity sector works, Garone cites the flexibility of Movember, noting how it is much more than a moustache or a joke. It’s about each person coming to the platform, embracing it in their own way & it being significant in their own life and the lives of others. More important than the funds raised is the building of awareness and education. At the very least can be as little as starting a conversation about the topic, and sharing one’s Movember story.
Us at the Sebright are participating in Movember – just ask the staff if you would like to donate. If you give £3 or more, you can take home our Sebright Arms Movember pint glass.