If October is the month for hair-raising frolics, November is the month for fund-raising follicles. Every November, men all over the world participate in the mustache-growing fundraiser known as Movember.
Movember is a movement to raise awareness around prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention in men. Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The Movember Foundation, the organization responsible for starting Movember, is working to halve the number of deaths from prostate cancer by 2030 and has already garnered nearly six million supporters and helped fund over 1,250 innovative men’s health projects across 20 countries.
Here’s how it works: Men, called “Mo Bros,” grow mustaches during the month of November, raising money for men’s health programs through sponsorship. Women, called “Mo Sisters,” may also participate by pledging to run/walk 60 miles in November.
Among this global community of Mo Bros and Mo Sisters is the College’s official Movember team, the Cougar Staches. Established in 2012, Cougar Staches is a group of CofC faculty, staff and others who have raised over $10,621 for the Movember Foundation over the years.
Cougar Staches captain Brandon Lewter says he initially got involved in the movement 12 years ago to honor his best friend of his who passed away from cancer at the age of 25. Now, with two sons of his own, he has even more interest in the future of men’s health.
“I participate in Movember to honor the memory of my late best friend, but also because it’s a fun way to raise awareness and funds for a very important cause: men’s health,” says the access service coordinator in Addlestone Library. “Research and advances aimed at improving men’s health only stand to benefit the males in my life, including my sons as they grow up.”
RELATED: Read what Lewter had to say about Movember back in 2015.
This year, with a modest goal of $2,000, Lewter and the other Cougar Staches are dedicating the team’s efforts to the memory of former CofC colleague and Cougar Staches team member, Dan Dickison, who lost his battle with cancer in June.
“I honestly can’t remember a time Dan didn’t greet me with a warm smile,” says Lewter. “From the moment I talked to him about the Movember Foundation and my involvement, he was on board. I know he had his personal reasons for supporting the cause, but I also think he did so because he could see how much his support, and the support of my colleagues, means to me. Encouragement and support like that from the College community in one unified cause helps me maintain my optimistic outlook.”
To support the Cougar Staches and the Movember movement, faculty and staff can join the team and their efforts and/or donate to the cause by sponsoring the team. Just growing a mustache can act as a conversation starter about men’s health issues and can be a motivation for gathering donation funds, says Lewter.
“The main goal is to simply be an advocate for men’s health while raising funds to support research and resources,” he says, noting that – in addition to growing a mustache and pledging to walk or run 60 miles over the course of the month – people can come up with their own challenges, too. “I don’t care how people get involved – as long as they do!”