by Kris Parfitt
– The Capitol Hill Times –
“You’d see all these guys doing it in November and we are all wondering, “What’s going on?” Colleen Gibson recalled when she was living in Australia during the early years of Movember.
What happened in November that our local gents started sporting lip rugs, soup strainers, flavor savors and mouth brows?
It was the brainstorm of two Australian mates who, inspired by a fellow mate’s mum who participated in a breast cancer fund raiser, wanted to bring awareness to men’s health by getting groups of men to do something together like the women who walked, ran or swam for women’s health awareness.
The combination of November and Mustache resulted in Movember and from the very start, with the original 30 men, was a success.
Since its conception in 2003, Movember has grown from 30 male participants known as Mo Bros in Melbourne to over 854,288 in 2011. It has spread to through Europe, the United States, South Africa and plenty of others. In the 2012, Movember participation is expected to top 1 million world-wide and raise over $130 million dollars for men’s health research.
Not bad for a renewable resource. Seattle’s Trent Jackson, owner and principal of Trade Craft Builders, started a Movember tradition in 2009 “Because,” as he put it, “growing a mustache is cool.”
Along with the cool factor, Jackson wanted to raise awareness for men’s health in Seattle. “I hadn’t heard of a lot of activity going on around Movember when I started it, and men’s health is important.”
Jackson’s first Movember gathering was at the Attic in Madison Park. “We had about 20 guys who participated. Now, tonight, there are over 45.”
It was easy to celebrate Movember this year because it fell on a Friday. Jackson also created more momentum by advertising a bar crawl on Facebook, Twitter and email.
“I talked to a lot of bars on Capitol Hill and the Liberty Bar and Hopvine said they’d pony up for Movember. We made shirts too, and the sales generated from those paid for their cost. The $20 entry fee for the crawl this year generated close to $1,000 that will be donated to the Movember Foundation. ”
“It’s a work in progress,” joked participant Josh Purnhagen about the first mustache he had grown.
“This was a spur of the moment thing to do 30 days ago and it could be thicker,” replied Kevin Reyes with mock forlorn.
“It’s more common for men to hide when they have cancer. It’s not as commonly talked about or supported like women do for breast cancer and other illnesses related to their health. This is a good cause, I’ll do it again.” Reyes continued.
Purnhagen’s wife, Paris, was also sporting a ‘stache, but like the other “Mo Sisters,” as the women who support their Mo Bros are called, her stache was stuck with adhesive, not hair follicles. “My uncle was diagnosed with Prostate cancer last year, but because of the advances in research and technology he went in and had the cancer cells killed with a laser. Now he’s doing great.”
While many of the Mo Bros who attended Jackson’s 2012 Movember bar crawl confessed this was their first time participating, many had grown facial hair before. However, one couple who attended shared that their participation was for what mattered. “I donated a kidney ten years ago,” explained Cynthia Tanis, “and anything with a worthy cause like this needs more participation for more recognition.”
Her partner, Cecil Boyd, was also a first time “This is easy to do; it doesn’t take much and it’s a way to change the face of men’s health world-wide. So why not?”
The Capitol Hill Times ran a contest for the best Movember Stache and we are happy to announce that Spencer Bergstedt and his awesome handle bar won the $35 gift certificate to ACME Barber Shop for some special whisker treatment. Thanks Bro, that mug deserves some special treatment!