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The Origins Of ‘Movember’ And The Good Cause Behind The Facial Hair Challenge


You’ve probably noticed some your male friends and co-workers posting to social media about their attempts to grow mustaches and beards over the course of the month of November as part of the so-called “Movember Challenge.” You may have thought such activities were just part of a funny facial hair fad, but, in fact, there’s actually a great cause behind the matter. Movember began as a way to bring back the mustache and turned into a way to raise cancer awareness. It’s a chance to grow out all facial hair in solidarity and to start conversations around men’s health issues.

Origins of Movember

Beginning in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, two friends discussed bringing back the mustache. Luke Slattery and Travis Garone were inspired by a friend’s mom who was raising money for breast cancer and decided to make the campaign about prostate cancer and men’s health issues. To begin, they found 30 men willing to take the challenge.

Movember

Movember Foundation

A year later, they formalized the concept and partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) who agreed to accept funds. Their first check to PCFA for AUD 54,000 in 2004 was the single largest donation it had ever received.

Growth Of The Movement

The co-founders established the non-profit Movember Foundation in 2004. Since 2003, the foundation has grown to include 21 countries and funded more than 1,000 men’s health programs. In 2013, it raised nearly $21 million.

Movember

Pexels / Pixabay

This year the foundation’s focus has broadened to include more men’s health issues like mental health and fitness.

Continuing The Conversation

“We are all about the mustache and only the mustache,” said Movember’s U.S. Director Mark Hedstrom. “What we’re asking them to do is participate by changing their appearance. What that fosters is a conversation.”

Movember

Pexels / Sherman Ray

To participate, you start with a fresh face on November 1 and “donate your face” though November 30 by not shaving. If you’re unable to grow a mustache, you can also help by donating to the cause or encouraging the men in your life to participate.

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