From peach fuzz to massive beards – Kent RaG Does Movember

 

November is the month for facial hair! Alasdair Lawrence tells us more about how Movember started and the growing movement, and below, Natalie Tipping talks to Asim Janjua from UKC RaG about their plans for Movember.

Photos by Medhi Abakarim. Photos also edited by Medhi Abakarim and Ana Sufana (Head of art direction).

It’s November again, which means Movember -the moustache-growing movement, is upon us. Pretty much anyone can tell you what Movember is about – growing moustaches and raising funds and awareness for men’s health. Less of us perhaps know the history of this movement which has taken the world by storm. Melbourne, Australia.

The year is 2003. Two mates, Travis and Luke sit at a bar discussing the evaporation of the moustache’s popularity. They decide they need something to kick it back into life. Inspired by a mutual friend’s mother, who fundraised for breast cancer, they decided that the moustache’s rallying cry would be for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. They were joined by two other friends, Justin and Adam, the four founding fathers of the moustachioed movement.

In the UK, prostate cancer affects one in eight men with over 40,000 diagnosed per year. It accounts for around 30% of all diagnosed cancer per year. When caught early, it has some of the highest success rates of any cancer with statistics ranging from 81-92% of survival cases. It becomes much more dangerous once the cancer spreads beyond the prostate. This spread, however, is very slow and most cases can be caught before it becomes a problem. The most significant problem facing prostate cancer is the stigma surrounding men’s health and their unwillingness to have regular checkups.

It was the goal of the Movember Foundation, therefore, to “change the face of men’s health” and raise awareness for prostate cancer. The first Movember had 30 ‘Mo Bros’ taking part, the 2004 campaign had 450 and by 2005 the movement had over 9,000 members and had become an official charity with full-time employees.

Today the Movember craze has gone global, with movements in Hong Kong, Brazil, South Africa and more. The Movember Foundation’s site is translated into half-a-dozen international languages and the memberbase numbers in the millions. Those four Melbourne mates are now full-time directors of the charity and Travis and Luke are regarded as pioneers in men’s health campaigning. The movement, born of late-night chit-chat over a pint, is now a part of the cultural calendar and seeing someone sport a set of whiskers is as identifiable as a badge, poppy or the pink ribbon.

 

Kent RaG Talk to InQuire

Natalie Tipping: What are Kent RaG doing for Movember?

Asim Janjua: Movember at UKC is an initiative setup by RaG to get everyone together to support one cause. Year on year, the cause is always men’s health. In the past, it has been prostrate or testicular cancer, but this year it’s focussing more on men’s mental health. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about problems with men’s health, so it’s not just about the money. Their branding is so key as it really creates the awareness that they’re looking for. We just want to promote the issues facing men today.

How can people get involved with Movember?

Firstly, they can like the Movember at UKC Facebook page. RaG is encouraging people to participate by growing a tache or just donating. Societies and sports teams can create teams. Even if you’re not a part of a society, you can get involved through joining the general Kent RaG team. Encourage people to join in and to donate. Watch out for the photo shoots as well, which are going on throughout the month to show progression of people’s taches.

Is Movember only for men?

No, everyone can get involved! We’ve got captains of women’s sports teams like rugby and cricket involved, they’re drawing on a tache each day. Women also have to deal with men’s mental health issues with the men in their lives so the campaign is focussing on making everyone aware.

What are RaG’s Movember targets?

We’re just trying to facilitate people’s involvement with the campaign. We’ve already raised £715 within the first week. It’s not about raising the money for us though; it’s about creating a strong brand that can be carried on in years to come to keep the awareness and to keep people involved with the issue. Everyone can get involved and it’s really about community spirit. People shy away because they think they look like an idiot, but the campaign is so worthwhile that people shouldn’t be scared to get involved.

What’s next after Movember for RaG?

We’re working with Student Media as well on their upcoming charity event for SNAAP, a local children’s charity.

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