Edmontonians join worldwide Movember moustache movement
Published Thursday, November 1, 2012 5:03PM MDT Last Updated Thursday, November 1, 2012 6:47PM MDT
The first day of November marked the beginning of a month-long movement to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer and men's health.
Edmontonians joined what will likely be hundreds of thousands of people from around the world – for the kickoff of Movember, a month when men sprout moustaches for a good cause.
It’s a campaign that’s been happening annually in Canada for the last six years – but even longer in Edmonton – the first Canadian city to officially take part in Movember.
"We were the pioneers in Canada with it,” said Movember Canada and Movember Edmonton co-founder Mike Miller.
“Last year was the best year and Canada became the leader in the world actually surpassing Australia, where Movember started. It gets bigger and bigger which means more people are talking about men’s health which is ultimately the goal.”
Men go clean-shaven on Nov. 1 and spend the rest of the month growing their “mo’s” while raising funds through sponsors. The “Mo Bros” are supported by the “Mo Sistas” in their lives.
“A lot of women don’t think they can get involved in Movember because let’s be honest you got to grow a moustache but we don’t have to do that, you just sign up and support your Mo Bros in the moustache growing throughout the month,” said Edmonton Mo Sistas co-chair Kari Skelton.
“Let’s get the conversations happening. Talk to your dad. It’s awkward the first time but then it becomes less awkward. Guys just don’t like to talk about their health as much as women so just kind of give them some tips on easing that transition.”
“It’s about having fun to have a serious conversation and if you can do both then it’s incredibly successful because it’s not an easy conversation to have,” said Edmonton Mo Sistas co-chair Jackie Whitson.
Miller had his “mo” shaved on CTV Morning Live Thursday as part of the Movember kickoff.
He lost his grandfather to prostate cancer and says it’s amazing to see how big the movement has become.
“I always hoped but to actually see it where it is today from where it started, it’s amazing – it’s a-‘MO’-zing,” Miller said with a laugh.
Money raised from Movember goes to Prostate Cancer Canada as well as the Canadian Male Health Network and the Global Action Plan program, which is an initiative by Movember.
A local urologist says money from the Movember movement has gone towards a new rapid access prostate cancer clinic that will soon open in Edmonton.
Dr. Gerry Todd also says Movember has helped break down barriers when it comes to talking about men’s health problems.
“We do notice that men are more comfortable talking about prostate cancer, it’s not just their wives that are pushing them,” Todd said.
“Men are actually coming forward to have a discussions round prostate cancer and prostate health. It’s taken it from the back room to the front room where men feel comfortable talking about this and the more education, the more awareness, the better.”
In 2011, 240,000 people in Canada registered and raised just over $43 million for the Movember movement, with more than $125 million being raised worldwide.
Last year more than 850,000 around the world took part in Movember.