The Way We Live for 24-10-10 : The one about Movember
Occasionally amidst the pokies and the “Number 32 your Chicken Parma is ready” and the lovers’ squabbles and the trivia nights and the earnest covers bands and the suspect bowls of peanuts – greatness unfolds in the pub.
Stirring poetry is written on the back of sodden drinks coasters. World problems are solved by tanked up sages on bar stools. And a group of mates concoct a way to literally change the face of men’s health.
You might not know the name Travis Garone but you’re sure to have heard of Movember . It’s the worldwide movement Travis and his buddies started back in a pub in 2003 encouraging men to spend the month of November growing a moustache all in the name of raising money and awareness of men’s health issues. Specifically prostate cancer and depression.
“Women are far more proactive in caring for their health, in having open, honest discussions about looking after themselves,” Travis says to me over email. And he’s right. Men like to sit on bar stools and talk about Ponting’s batting average or the NRL’s salary-capping woes not about how they’re struggling to get out of bed every day because of the Black Dog.
And depression is killing our men – young and old. A friend’s uncle hung himself earlier this year following the loss of his job. A childhood mate of mine is currently struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder thanks to the years he’s spent as a police officer. He has a loving wife and beautiful children and yet every day he fights thoughts of driving his car into a tree. After months of talking to no one, thankfully he’s now talking to a psychologist and taking medication.
Meanwhile prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Sure if caught early it’s highly treatable. The problem is catching it early. Blokes avoid the doctor the way pregnant women avoid lycra.
Enter Movember. It’s an ingenious way to have a laugh but also provides the perfect opening line. That dodgy looking mo is the way to start the conversation about depression, about regular prostate exams for men over 50 (or 40 if there’s a family history). That mo is a talking point. Particularly if it’s more Mike Brady than Magnum P.I.
Which begs the question. Does Travis have any tips for growing the ultimate mo? “Lots of combing,” he tells me. “You can also try talking to it in the mirror, like a plant – the encouragement has been known to help. But really the one true secret is to pick your own style and wear it proudly. Love your mo and your mo will love you right back.”
Fellas, I challenge you to register for Movember this year. As for the rest of us, let’s support this cause the way we support the Think Pink campaign. For more details and to register go to www.movember.com
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.