The concept is simple: Grow a ‘stache and raise some cash.
In a few weeks we’ll flip the calendar page and begin November, or, to be more accurate in this context, Movember. The slight change in spelling signifies the month when men across the world will grow mustaches in order to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues.
Here at the College, librarian Brandon Lewter is spearheading campus fundraising and facial hair-growing efforts. Last year he and other College community members raised $2,199 for men’s health. This year he wants to at least double that, and he’s asking for help.
Since 2003, fundraising affiliated with the Movember Foundation has raised more than $650 million and supported more than 1,000 programs devoted to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and exercise. Women are encouraged to help support the cause, too, by becoming part of Mo Sistas.
We asked Lewter about his participation in Movember and why others should consider abstaining from shaving, too.
Q: What prompted you to become involved in Movember and to become the College’s representative in this effort?
A: I started participating in Movember as a way to honor my best friend who passed away in 2010 from cancer, which started as testicular cancer. Also, my family has a history of breast cancer—two aunts and my grandmother died and my mother is a survivor. Movember is a way for me to raise awareness for men’s health, just as I and millions of others do in October for breast cancer awareness month.
Q: Is there a particular disease that affects men that is a focus for you?
A: Although all health issues are important to me, I tend to focus on two areas: cancer screening because of the effects cancer has had on my life and poor mental health because of the pattern of men and boys with mental issues being responsible for the mass murders we see in the United States so frequently these days. If the people behind these crimes had the opportunity to seek help for their mental instability, they may not have committed those horrific acts.
Q: When you grow a mustache, do you begin to resemble a celebrity?
A: I wish I could say I look like Burt Reynolds or Nick Offerman, but sadly my mustache isn’t nearly as prominent. One time a lady told me I looked like Ryan Gosling, but she was pretty drunk.
Q: How do loved ones and friends react to your mustache?
A: My wife, Pamela, puts up with the mustache, but she prefers it when I grow a beard. My mom isn’t the biggest fan, but she tolerates it for the cause. My sisters like to make fun of me, and my dad started participating with me last year, so he has no room to talk!
Q: Why should someone consider supporting this cause?
A: Supporting Movember is a fun way to raise awareness for men’s health issues, an often overlooked topic because of the status quo that men are supposed to be tough and invulnerable. Growing a mustache provides an opportunity to start a conversation about men’s health issues, thus raising awareness that hopefully leads to more cancer screening and physical activity, as well as the creation of an environment that is more open to men seeking help for poor mental health. Movember is a global initiative and I like the fact that they are very transparent about where they distribute the funds raised through Movember.