Moventum

Global campaign to raise money and awareness for male health kicks off

Like whiskers to handlebars, Movember has grown quite a bit in recent years, not only in popularity, but also in scope and success.

The charity began in Melbourne, Australia, as a dare between friends to grow a moustache for an entire month, which they dubbed Movember. Thirty people participated in the initial challenge; Mo Bros who grew the ‘staches and Mo Sistas who recruited more Bros. But the movement quickly exploded: since 2003, more than 4 million Mo Bros and Sistas in 21 countries have raised $574 million.

Last year, $34 million was raised by 173,000 participating Canadians, according to Jamie Hopkins, a co-chair of the Movember Winnipeg Committee. Hopkins’ motive with Movember parallels the founders’, stating it’s “simply a great way for a few buddies to get away with wearing awful moustaches around the office while supporting a
great cause.”

In 2010, Movember Canada approached Hopkins about heading a
Winnipeg committee.

“Our volunteer committee started with three guys sitting around a table talking about moustaches,” he recalls. “It’s grown to a 16 person comprehensive team, handling everything from event planning to
media relations.”

Heading into his sixth Movember campaign, Hopkins credits a number of reasons for his continued involvement, especially the low overhead and open research. 

“More than 90 cents on the dollar is allocated to men’s health problems,” he says. “In addition, research is shared and collaborated on with experts around
the world.”

The success of the campaign, which included the funding of a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center discovery that there are more than 25 different kinds of prostate cancer, lead to Movember expanding its focus from exclusively prostate cancer to include mental health and testicular cancer.

“These are characteristics of Movember that make me proud to be a part of the hairy movement,” Hopkins says.

Movember Winnipeg invites you to its kickoff at Kildonan Place Mall on Saturday, Nov. (Mov.) 1.  Volunteers will be on hand to help you register while a variety of activities and special guests will
provide entertainment. 

“The highlight of the day will be at 1:00 p.m.,” he says. “Local media personalities and other celebrities join us for the traditional beginning of the month Shavedown,”

Humour and entertainment are the main tactics employed by Movember to encourage men to talk about their health issues with someone. The other big Movember event is the worldwide Gala Parté, with Winnipeg’s Official Movember Gala Parte being held on Friday, Nov. 28 at District Stop (formerly Alive) with performances by The New Meanies and Federal Lights. Tickets are $20.

Visit facebook.com/movemberwinnipeg to learn more about the Gala Parte and many other Movember events.

Published in Volume 69, Number 9 of The Uniter (October 29, 2014)

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