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Hair raising: Taking a stache for men's health

'Tis the season when shopping malls are adorned with frosting upon their windows and sprightly men and women don their short-shorts and take to the streets with glee in their hearts and moustaches upon their lips. Yes, you read that right. In fact, oh my readers, this article finds your dear author with nascent shadows of a budding bush tickling his nose at this very moment, all in the name of spreading awareness for men's health.
If you're still hairless and bristling at the sudden influx of Burt Reynolds look-alikes in your neighbourhood, you probably haven't heard of the men's health awareness campaign aptly titled Movember.

What's in a Mo?

Movember, oh my readers, is a drive to raise funds for research and awareness of male specific cancers viz prostate and testicular. Occurring throughout the month of Movember... November that is, men around the world grow their transcendent tasches as a fun way of putting their efforts behind a cause, creating open conversation and thus furthering education thereon. More than just igniting discussion, Mobros and Mosistas (as supporters are called) can register upon the Movember and Sons' website where they may accept donations in aid of research to fight male related cancers.

Since its inception in 2003, Movember and Sons has raised R2.12 billion to date, which is appropriated by a governing board to specific areas of research and development in handling cancer. R949 million came from the 854,000 registered members worldwide in 2011 alone. This is staggering to conceive regarding a concept that finds its origin as an agreement between friends over beers in Melbourne.

So what makes Movember so special exactly? Unlike other awareness campaigns, which get by with the often inconspicuous coloured ribbon, the visibility of the long, flowing locks during the month are as much in your face as it is on your face.

Being a Mobro

Having had first-hand experience as a Mobro for the past two years, one thing your genial author has noticed is the commitment required to stick to such a cause over the course of the month.

While sporting a feature as unusual as any upon my typically shorn face, I've been likened to everything from cowboy to fabled Indian characters and even non-kosher references of homicidal convicts and paedophiles. (The latter being ironic as I was stationed in the paediatric ward during last year's campaign!)

What did bearing all the tomfoolery and date-less nights achieve, you may ask, oh my readers? In a word: discussion. Everywhere I ventured with my bristly companion ahead of me, conversation would be sparked and the opportunity of education arose around a topic often experienced as 'too sensitive' to discuss. This communication and educational process forms the backbone of the movement.

Join the Mo-vement

The success of Movember has accelerated over recent years largely thanks to social media, which has created an international community of Mobros and Mosistas across all cultural borders.

As each November nears, excitement builds to Movember-eve (31 October), where blades touch upper lips one last time in preparation for joining a fellowship of furry fellas. Movember has developed over the years into an entertaining and fun-filled month where proponents join hands to fight cancer one moustache at a time.

Join the fight of kicking prostate and testicular cancer in the balls - visit my Movember page and you too can make your donations count.

About Chamendran Naidoo

Chamendran Naidoo works as a General Practitioner in the SA Navy. His interests include fine surgery as well as approaching the patient as a whole in a Bio-Psycho-Social manner. He is passionate about the immersion of medicine into everyday life which he actively manages via social media fronts. Chamendran is also a co-presenter on SABC3's Dr Mol Show. Email Chamendran on moc.liamtoh@nardnemahc and follow him on Twitter at @Chamendran.

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