FREE SPEECH ZONE | Mustaches, Movember and Fighting Cancers Affecting Men

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Rates of prostate cancer in men are comparable to breast cancer rates in women, with a man being diagnosed with the disease every 2.7 minutes. According to recent findings, men are 40 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer simply due to the fact of putting off doctor visits and failing to lead a proactively healthy lifestyle.

Every Movember (the month formerly known as November) men across the state of Minnesota and all around the word, rise up to the challenge and start the month cleanly shaven and grow mustaches, all in an effort to raise awareness and funds for cancers affecting men. The mustache effectively becomes our version of the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and serves as a 30 day facial billboard for men’s health and prostate cancer.

Movember was started in Australia in 2003 when a few guys decided that they wanted to bring back the mustache. In order to justify their “Mo” (Aussie slang for mustache), they decided to use their new looks to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research. To date, more than 627,000 mustaches have been grown worldwide and raised over $100 million. This November will mark the 4th Movember campaign in the US, which will continue to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (pcf.org) and LIVESTRONG (livestrong.org).

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I became involved in Movember three years ago. My best friend convinced me to participate after he was one of four people growing “Mo’s” in Minneapolis the first year Movember was in the United States. At first, I thought Movember was really just about the “Mo”. What a great opportunity to grow one myself. As the month went on, I was shocked at the attention the mustache garnered. But, was even more shocking, was when I explained the reason behind my “Mo”, just how many people’s lives have been impacted by prostate cancer, and just how willing people were to help the cause. Since that first year of participating, we started our own Movember team (Blackbeard’s Delight) and have made mustache growth and men’s health issues a year-long cause.

Not only is Movember fun, but it is simple. Throughout the month of October, men and women joining the campaign by registering at www.Movember.com. Registering either as an individual, or part of a team, they have the next 30 days to grow and show off their “Mo’s”. Family, friends and co-workers are then encouraged to show their support by sponsoring the growing mustache by donating funds to support the PCF and LAF. It’s much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, except the mustache is our vehicle by which we raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research.

At the end of the month, all of the participants come together to celebrate their ‘staches at the official Movember Gala. This is the first year a gala will be held in Minneapolis. It will be hosted at Bootleggers (323 N. 1st Avenue) on Thursday, December 2 at 8:00PM. The gala is a chance for participants to dress up in their best mustache themed costume, showcase their immaculate grooming, celebrate their finest Mo and compete for a number of category titles – including Best Mo in Character, Miss Movember and, of course, Man of Movember 2010.

For more information, visit www.Movember.com, and help change the face of men’s health.