Facial Hair for Health
Hair-raising fundraising: Movember changes the face of men's health
There's never been a better time than now to start growing your ironic Austin moustache. It's November, after all.
Throughout Austin, and in many parts of the world, November has been re-appropriated as Movember, a campaign to honor all the brave moustaches that have been grown (and styled and purchased) by the brave men and women who have gone before us. Really, Movember is a fun and trendy public health campaign that raises millions of dollars worldwide in efforts to eradicate prostate cancer.
In 2003, inspired by the successful fundraising and awareness efforts of women's breast cancer health campaigns, a clever bunch of hirsute Australians came up with the concept for Movember over a round of beers (probably Foster's). Together, they agreed upon the concept: shave it all on November 1 and let one's moustache—and only the moustache—grow uninhibited throughout the month.
Quickly, the campaign caught on in other countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, The Netherlands and Finland. Of course, Austin jumped on the bandwagon immediately considering approximately 83% of the local population already had moustaches. It also helps that Austin-based LIVESTRONG is a partner with the nationwide campaign.
In place of a colored ribbon to try to match to your outfits, the moustache itself serves as the talking point to promote discussions of men's health and represent solidarity. No marathons or walks are necessary (although not discouraged), but pledges are heavily encouraged through the Movember members site. Once you register with the site, you can link up your Facebook account, recruit a team and start spreading the news.
In addition to the fundraisers and nationwide video and photo competitions, individual events are planned throughout the month for each city that participates. Since Austin is always game for good parties, especially when they're for a good cause, Movember is the perfect reason to celebrate. Everyone can do their best Tom Selleck impression and raise money for men's health. Does it get any better?
Events like tonight's LIVESTRONG's Mo-Tie Affair and the Million Mo March on November 29 will lead to the grand culmination of Movember celebrations at the Highball's Gala Parté on December 1, when the King of Movember will be crowned for his creativity and prowess with moustache wax, styling techniques and sheer volume.
Ladies, children and less follicley-privileged men can participate throughout the month as well with their own homemade or store-bought faux-staches. With Halloween over, there's plenty of awesome options at costume shops to make all your handlebar, horseshoe or walrus dreams come true.
Last year, the campaign raised over $16 million U.S. equivalent dollars from over 1 million donors. The U.S. came in fourth behind Canada, the U.K. and Australia, so we've still got some room to, ahem, grow.