THE BLOG

Welcome to Movember

11/01/2013 10:17 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Perhaps you've noticed heaps of moustaches sprouting on men's upper lips this month? Welcome to Movember! We are the global men's health organization that encourages men and women to register on Movember.com and grow or support the moustache for the 30 days of November to raise funds and awareness for men's health to combat prostate and testicular cancer.

What started as two mates looking to bring back the moustache, has become the leading, global men's health charity, having an everlasting impact on the face of men's health. Although fashion trends come and go, we at Movember plan to keep bringing the moustache back, for one-month only, all in the name of men's health.

For me, cancer is personal. I have a family history of prostate, breast and laryngeal cancer. Five years ago, I lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer at the age of 35. It was devastating. What I learned from that was never to assume. You need to talk to your family, friends and your physician, ask questions and seek help. You need to take control of your health.

This year we're celebrating ten years of Movember and, looking back, it's been an amazing journey and really incredible to see just how far we've come. What started in Melbourne, Australia in 2003, has crossed oceans and borders, and now there are official Movember campaigns in 21 countries.

Since our humble beginnings back in 2003, Movember has had over 3.0 million participants and raised $446 million worldwide for men's health initiatives. In 2012, we surpassed an incredible milestone with 1.1 million global Mo Bros and Mo Sistas participating, raising more than $147 million worldwide. There were over 209,000 Americans who joined the movement last year, contributing $21 million to fund programs for men's health.

In the US, programs directed by the Movember Foundation, are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer and research. Details about the more than 570 programs that Movember has funded can be found here.

During Movember, the moustache becomes the hairy ribbon for men's health, and the guys growing them become walking, talking billboards for 30 days. Thus, each new Movember moustache sparks 2,413 conversations about men's health throughout the month.

Because of the funds raised by the Movember community, researchers can now construct a complete genetic map of prostate cancer. This means that patients will eventually be able to work with their doctors to map the individual genetic alterations of their prostate cancer to determine the specific treatment needed for them. The result will be less men dying from prostate cancer, more effective treatment with less side effects, and it will spare some men from unnecessary treatments.

As I mentioned, 2013 marks the ten-year anniversary of Movember, but it also marks the three-year anniversary of Movember's Global Action Plan (GAP), which is changing the rules of the game in translational research funding through unprecedented levels of global collaboration. Movember found that prostate cancer researchers often work on similar projects, unaware of or unable to work with researchers in other countries. This has had the effect of slowing down scientific advancement. We knew this way of working needed a big change, so we launched GAP to address critical challenges in men's health through global collaboration. There are currently five Global Action Plan projects underway.

In 2013, more deaths will be attributed to inactivity (5.3 million) than smoking (5 million) and by the end of this decade, most Americans will exert only slightly more energy per week than if they slept 24 hours. With this in mind, this year, Movember has launched a new global initiative. MOVE, also the first four letters of Movember, is a global initiative designed to encourage Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to get moving during the month of Movember. We want them to become more engaged in their own health and well-being. MOVE can be anything active, from walking a 5K, to trying yoga, to a day of surfing to everything in between.

For the past ten years, barbers around the globe have been sharing our passion for fine moustachery and men's health. To acknowledge their support and expertise, we have created Movember Rated Barbers, a global network showcasing the best in class barbershops from around the world dedicated to fine grooming, fine moustaches and to changing the face of men's health.

I'm excited for 2013 as the beginning of a new generation. Movember participants around the world are ready and willing to fight in the name of men's health. As a global network, this Movember requires action from all corners of the globe. Register at Movember.com to see how you can inspire the most significant change that men's health has ever seen. Thank you and I hope to see you and your Mo out there changing the face of men's health this Movember.