It’s November. In the U.S. that normally means it’s time for turkey, football, and getting cozy with friends and family. This year it also means elections. As we write this, they’re counting the votes. It’s enough to make anyone feel stressed!
So let’s talk about something else that happens in November: Movember! Named for a combination of “moustache” and “November,” the global movement each November brings men and women together to grow mustaches (mostly left for the men to do) and raise awareness and support for various men’s health causes.
But what’s the story behind Movember? How did it get its start? And what are they raising money for again?
5 O’Clock Shadow
It all started in a pub in Melbourne, Australia in 2003. Two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, met for a beer and started talking about how they could bring mustaches back in style while doing some good. They invited 30 friends to join. Memories were made, fun was had, and the following year, they had almost 500 participants raising over $40,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
The following years, exponential growth continued. 2005 saw Movember grow to almost 10,000 participants and nearly $1 million raised for six men’s health projects and 2006 to $65,000 participants, $8.5 million raised, and 29 projects funded.
By 2007, the Movember movement officially launched in the US, Canada, the UK, and Spain. At this point, over 200,000 participants had joined raising almost $30 million for 70 different projects, with similar growth in 2008.
In 2009, Movember achieved official charity status, also partnering with Livestrong in men’s health initiatives. The early 2010’s saw Movember spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world, along the way becoming ranked 72 out of 500 NGOs in the world.
Full-On Bert Reynolds
By 2019, Movember had grown into a massive global men’s health NGO, still supporting prostate and testicular cancer research, as well as many other men’s health issues including mental health and other health issues.
In fact, research funded by Movember led to several potential prostate cancer treatments in the U.S. They’ve funded almost too many projects to count at this point– by the end of 2019, 6,263,923 Mo Bros and Mo Sisters (as they like to call participants) funded over 1,250 men’s health projects funded. Here are ten recent projects that Movember funded, if you’re curious to learn more.
Along the way, Movember has collaborated with brands like Google, Quantas, TOMS, The Royal Mail, Carlsberg Beer and more. They even sponsored the world’s largest sand castle and built a 55-meter mustache statue!
Be a Mo Bro or Sister
So how can you participate in Movember? Many people just do it informally, but the better way is to register with the organization here. Once you do that, there are different ways you can participate. The classic move is to sign up, grow a mustache, and raise some money! Another way you can participate is to run or walk 60 miles in one month. The 60 miles represents the 60 men who are lost to suicide every hour. You can also host Movember events, virtually or in person, and have fun for a good cause. There’s also The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride, an annual motorcycle cruise of dapper looking men in cities around the world. And finally, you can also “Mo Your Own Way,” creating your own challenge or activity to raise awareness or funds.
And if you decide to grow a mustache, we have all the supplies you need to keep it looking fresh.