Yusry Mahadeva is growing a moustache (a ‘mo’) this month, and he’s not the only one.
Having lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, Mahadeva, 19, is taking part in Movember, a charity event promoting the awareness of prostate cancer and raising funds for research by having participants grow out a moustache in November.
“I thought it was fitting that I did it to try to raise some awareness and money,” Mahadeva says. “I think a lot of time is spent with women and breast cancer, and men’s health issues aren’t being raised enough.
“I felt Movember would be a good way to do that.”
He says he is prepared to dedicate himself fully to the cause this month and let his mo grow.
“It’s kind of a fun way to raise awareness I think. You’re growing a moustache so it obviously shows that you’re committed to something to do it for an entire month,” Mahadeva says.
“It’s a good way to raise awareness and money because you’re actually sacrificing yourself with a stupid moustache.”
Adam Garone, co-founder of Movember, says participants essentially become walking billboards promoting men’s health. By having men grow out a mo during November, it helps spark conversations on the streets about prostate cancer, a topic usually avoided by men.
“Men really don’t like to talk about any below-the-belt healthcare issues at all and we really wish that men were more like women that way,” says Greg Sarney, vice president of marketing and developments of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada, the national partner for the campaign.
Sarney says unknown to most people, there is a higher rate of incidence for prostate cancer in men than there is for breast cancer in women in Canada.
“As a man, you’re more likely to get prostate cancer than a woman is to get breast cancer and a lot of people don’t realize that,” he says.
According to Garone, Movember currently has about 9,000 participants in Canada so far this year, and will probably go up to 175,000 worldwide by the end of the campaign.
Movember originated in Australia in 2003, with just 30 members. The campaign became international last year.
Garone says the entire movement came about in a very non-traditional manner. He says he was at a bar with a few friends one Sunday and was talking about fashion from the ’70s that have not made a comeback.
“We thought, well, whatever happened to the moustache?” he says. ” So we thought, let’s bring the moustache back as a bit of a challenge and just really as a bit of a joke.”
To top it all off, a gala party is held at the end of the month for participants to get together and have some fun to celebrate the moustache and the success of the campaign.
“There’s a presentation at the end of the party to award the best mos that are grown in the campaign and it’s really a lot of fun because guys dress to suit their mo, whether it’s the trucker mo, the pornstar mo or the Borat,” Sarney says.
“So many people come out in costumes and women dress up too, it’s a pretty fantastic party.”
Garone says all of the funds raised in “Movember” are given to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada.