Movember is changing attitudes towards men’s health

A simple dare among mates in Melbourne has turned into a global fundraising event for men’s health.

In 2003, two mates from Melbourne (Travis Garone and Luke Slattery) were having a quiet beer at the Gypsy Bar in Fitzroy when their conversation turned to recurring fashion trends. The moustache, a fixture in past decades, was nowhere to be seen in recent trends. They joked about bringing it back.

The two friends decided to talk their mates into growing a Mo. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. They designed the rules of Movember (which are still in place today) and agreed to charge ten dollars to grow a Mo. Trav designed the first Movember logo, and they sent around an email titled ‘Are you man enough to be my man?’ They found 30 guys willing to take up the challenge.

Those first 30 Mo Bros grew their moustaches with such enthusiasm that in 2004 a decision was made to formalise the concept and get all participants growing for a cause. Adam Garone stepped up to help take Movember to the next level, registered a company and created a website. Justin Coghlan (JC) came on board to run the campaign interstate.

The guys researched men’s health issues and agreed to formally support prostate cancer as their cause. They also explored prostate cancer groups and Adam approached the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). The PCFA agreed to accept funds from the 2004 campaign but was not an official men’s health partner. 450 Mo Bros raised A$54,000, with Spain and the UK becoming home to the first international Mo Bros. The entire proceeds were donated to the PCFA — all costs were covered by the four co-founders until (and including) the 2005 campaign. That first Movember cheque to the PCFA was the largest single donation they received.

Jump to 2017 and Movember is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. It’s addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

The team at Movember know what works for men, and how to find and fund the most innovative research to have both a global and local impact. The Movember Foundation is independent of government funding, so it can challenge the status quo and invest quicker in what works. In 13 years it has funded more than 1200 men’s health projects around the world.

If you’d like to get involved this year and raise some vital funds for men’s health, click here.