As men, we don’t like to talk about our problems. We grit our teeth, squeeze our fists and silently move through life. That’s what our dads did; our uncles too. It’s part of what it is to be a man - stay strong and move along.
A partial reason for the silence around men’s issues is societal. We’ve given men the role of the tougher gender and thus any discussion around men-specific health issues is often seen as emasculating.
Fortunately, it’s the 21st century and we don’t have to abide by the social norms that have prevailed in Western society since Sparta. We still can be Spartans and talk about depression… or testicular cancer… or prostate cancer. November is the month to openly do it and Movember is the movement to get support behind solving men-specific health problems.
Why Join the MOVEment?
My first Movember was 2009. A buddy of mine and I decided to do it because we thought it would be fun to look like Tom Selleck for a month. The more research I did about Movember, however, the more I realized it’s not just fun and games. Movember stood for something real and urgent.
I uncovered a slew of men-specific problems that everyone kind of knew about but no one really talked about. The stats shook me to the core. Men’s issues are as real as they get:
- Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers among men under 40;
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. If found early, the survival rate is almost 100%. Once at advanced stage, however, that rate drops to 29% (American Cancer Society).
- 9% of American men have daily feelings of depression and anxiety (APA).
- 10% of Canadian men will experience major depression in their lifetime (Movember Foundation).
- 3 out of 4 suicides are men (Movember Foundation).
- In the US 1 in 4 male deaths is a result of a heart disease (CDC).
- Between 70% and 89% of all sudden cardiac events occur in men (CDC).
Changing these stats is what Movember is about. Let’s be real, however: you and I alone can’t change the numbers. Even putting $1,000 each won’t even move the needle. So, why bother? Here’s why:
- The strength of Movember is in the numbers. It’s true, two people’s donation of $20 doesn’t make a difference, however, it helps build momentum. If we grow from two people to 5 and then 10 and eventually 100,000, then it starts to matter. All efforts worthwhile pursuing start with one small step.
- You, just talking, can save someone’s life. By spreading the word about Movember and creating a culture of open discussion about men’s issues can make all the difference for someone struggling with depression, anxiety or any other kind of disease. Only 48% of men feel they can rely on their friends for support. 70% are willing to give it. You can move the needle on this one just by talking to your buddies.
How to Get Started
There are several ways to help the cause. You can become a Mo Bro or Mo Sista by setting up a profile on Movember.com. You can set a fundraising target and promote your page to raise donations. You don’t have to grow a mo but it will be fun if you do.
If you want to cut to the chase, you can donate directly to the Movember Foundation. You can pick any amount you want and do it any time you want. The Movember Foundation welcomes your support year-round.
What makes Movember strong is that it is fun to be part of it. The Movember Foundation suggests some cool ways to support the cause.
Move for Movember
Pick a challenge, set a target and get your friends to rally behind you. Share your Movember page and get donations to support your challenge.
You don’t have to run a marathon or achieve Olympic feats. If planking or benching if your thing - then this could be your challenge. If you don’t feel like doing it alone, get your friends to join you.
Host an Event
If sweating isn’t your thing you can support Movember by throwing a party or organizing just about any event.
Merchant Sons and Peregrine Supply Co. are organizing a Guys’ Night In in Toronto. It promises to be a “a fun evening of relaxing massages, brow treatments, beer, pizza, games, freebies and prizes”. Check out the details here.
The Old Irving Brewing Company in Chicago is throwing a Mo Bash on November 16th. The suggested donation is $30. The hosts are organizing drinks specials, live auction and best mustache contest. If you are in the Chicago area, here are the details.
Arlo NoMad Hotel in New York is organizing a Steak N’ Shave brunch to wrap up Movember. On December 2nd, you can get “bottomless whiskey”, steak brunch and a free shave/styling by Don Juan (Stackchips).
If you’d rather do your own thing, you can organize a private dinner party, a whiskey-tasting event, a poker night, or just a mustache contest/house party. You can set up a page for your event and get your guests to donate and RSVP. You can start here.
Join an Industry Challenge
Several industries across the US have set up challenges to raise funds for Movember. The industry challenges are essentially groups of people working in the same industry that raise funds for Movember.
The Movember Tech Challenge has raised over $130K as the time of this writing. You can join the challenge individually or as a team. Your fundraising hustle will get you recognition by topping the leaderboard. An added bonus is a great exposure amongst your industry peers - not a bad way to land your next gig.
Prizes & Rewards
Even though feeling good for supporting a worthy cause is a reward in itself, the Movember Foundation offers special perks for the most industrious fundraisers. If you raise more than $1,000 you can join the Platinum Club and receive a Movember harmonica. Even if squeaking on is not your thing, its rustic design will look great on your desk.
The Movember harmonica is cool but what gets me really excited is the prize The Mo Mo gets. The Mo Bro or Mo Sista who raises the most during the 2017 campaign gets to go on an all-inclusive boat cruise for two in two European destinations of their choice.
You can pick from nine packages, which can take you to Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Normandy.
The generous donor of this prize is Uniworld Cruise.
I know you don’t need more convincing, so to make your life easier, here’s a link to Movember’s site. Click on Join and help men live longer. If you are already a member tell us your story. What made you join the cause and why is it worthy to you? We’d love to see your mustache too!