Mo’ than just fun

Catherine Dennehy looks at the cultural phenomenon that is Movember and what DCU has planned for the charity this year.

November is Movember month. That’s right, the eleventh month of the year now sees men all over the world emulating Tom Selleck, Hulk Hogan and Super Mario by donning a moustache, all in the name of charity.

From an idea originally conceived in Australia in the late 90s, the Movember Foundation was officially founded in 2004. Since then, it has organised its annual month-long campaign to raise awareness and vital funds for men’s health issues – with a particular emphasis on prostate cancer.

The Movember campaign has now gone global and ‘Mo Bros’ have been raising money in Ireland since 2008, contributing to the staggering figure of €123 million collected worldwide. One in every six men is likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, with more than 500 fatalities every year in Ireland. Money raised this month in Ireland will go to Action Prostate Cancer, a programme set up by the Irish Cancer Society.

The rules are quite simple. You begin at the start of November with a clean-shaven face and grow or groom a moustache for the entire month. Convince your friends and family to sponsor you for your trouble and suffering, and off you go.

This year, DCU will again be running events to raise money. Esoc, Rugby and the DCU Style Society are collaborating to organise on-campus fundraising as they have done for several years. November 1 saw the launch night of DCU’s Movember in the NuBar.

Students Killian Martin and David Burson are involved in the organising of the university’s fundraising, and were excited to hold the first Movember event of the campaign.

“We had the launch night at Toxic Tuesday,” says Killian, “We had a slave auction and a general bit of banter about Movember to get the ball rolling.”

There will also be a naked calendar sold with all proceeds going to charity.

“We’ll have a launch night for that, once it’s done,” continues Killian, “The calendar will be sold for three or four euro. It features students in DCU from different societies. We’ll be trying to generate a bit of revenue from that. It’s working out quite cheap to actually make it. The photographer is doing it for free, the students are all doing it for free”.

In the last week of November last year, the organising group held a final fundraising night in Drumcondra, which made a considerable about of money. Up to 600 people attended and paid €4 each to get in. While the details haven’t been finalised, a similar event will be held this year and the organisers hope that it will be as profitable as last time.

It’s not too late to take part in this year’s fundraising, and by searching on the Movember website, it is possible to join the DCU team. Killian explains that it is simple to sign up.

“You can go to the website, set up an account and you can promote that yourself through your Facebook or email,” he says.

“The Movember site is quite like Facebook… in that you create your own page,” explains Stephen. “You can put up a photo of yourself on day one and upload pictures throughout the month. You can write little info pieces about what Movember means to you or if you have a story behind it. Friends and family can go onto your page then and make donations through their Laser Card, a credit card, Paypal – anything like that.”

“We have loads of people signed up to the DCU team now,” he continues. “All the money we raise through our events will also go into that group and will be given as a DCU initiative towards Movember.”

Of course, people can get involved individually as well. James Martin, a DCU Masters of Journalism student, has been involved since Movember’s arrival in Ireland.

“I first got involved back in 2008,” he says. “At the time I did it because I thought that it would a fun way of raising money for a good cause.”

Instead of just growing a moustache, James has decided that this year he will try more inventive things to raise as much money as possible.

“This year I am stepping up my game,” he says. “Myself and a few of my friends have decided to do a charity head shave at the end of the month as well as the moustache thing. We hope that this will give people more incentive to sponsor us.”

James explains that his efforts have already been very successful.

“So far we are just shy of €500 and we are hoping to get well over €1000, with €2000 being the dream goal. I think that Movember is a great idea, as the marketing team has designed the campaign to be attractive and fun, and all the money goes towards fighting cancer,” he says.

Movember is making people talk about the men’s health issues that may otherwise go ignored, by turning brave souls into moustache bearing, walking, talking advertisements. It is raising awareness and much-needed funds for charities that fight against cancer, by discussing serious issues with a touch of humour.

Last year, more than 450,000 people registered at movember.com, and this year it is likely to be just as popular. Whether you are growing a ‘tache yourself or donating what you can spare, everyone can contribute to this worldwide charitable phenomenon.

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