I have just completed (survived) my first week as an official ‘Mo Bro’. For those of you who do not have a clue what I am talking about, I will elaborate. I am one of the 200,000 men - and counting - who have pledged to ditch the razor through the month, for global sponsored moustache growing event Movember. This is my first foray into cultivating my facial hair, and in all honesty, I have been a little anxious about the results.
After much deliberation, and some consultation, I opted for the ‘Desperado' look, in a futile attempt to make myself look a little more dangerous. Unfortunately, the resulting, surprisingly strawberry-blonde ‘tache’ means I look more like Clyde the orangutan than Clint Eastwood. However, all vanity aside, embracing the hirsute look is all in the name of a vitally important cause. Movember is nothing short of a phenomenon, and a hugely successful one. Beyond the humour, the campaign is a highly effective way to promote awareness of prostate and testicular cancers. Last year Mo Bros and Sistas raised more than £10 million in the UK alone, to ‘change the face of men’s health’. As the proud UK beneficiary partner of Movember, The Prostate Cancer Charity is channelling these funds into much-needed research and providing enhanced services for the 250,000 men, and their families, currently living with prostate cancer.
I piloted my fledgling Mo at the House of Commons last week, nothing like starting at the top. As well as signing up some MPs to Movember, the visit was a great opportunity to discuss some of the current issues around prostate cancer. In particular, I was updating MPs on the disappointing news that NICE will not be undertaking a quality standards audit for men with prostate cancer until 2013. We know that the experiences of men with prostate cancer are way too varied across all aspects of the prostate cancer journey, from diagnosis all the way to life after treatment. We need quality standards so that men can check they are receiving the best care, and being offered the right choices - wherever they live. I am urging MPs to support us in lobbying NICE to bring this exercise forward, as well as to support the Charity in starting a consultation of its own, which should speed the process.
Next stop for me and my Mo was a visit to the Colchester branch of Keyline Builders Merchants, one of the Charity’s most committed corporate partners. We felt very much at home here, as we were in good company, with hundreds of their staff embracing the month. Meeting with Managing Director Andrew Harrison, who has been a real champion of our partnership, it was great to hear how reciprocal the benefits have been. After voting to keep the partnership, staff have raised thousands of pounds for the Charity. Keyline has also been able to deliver a health awareness message in a male dominated environment to the very people who need to have prostate cancer on their radar. What was really exciting was hearing how the partnership had supported Keyline as a business and place to work, by increasing friendly rivalry and communication between branches when it comes to fundraising for The Prostate Cancer Charity. A highlight of the day for me (and my Mo) was being presented with my very own fluorescent vest promoting the Movember and The Prostate Cancer Charity, which I shall be wearing with pride at any opportunity!
Now that the first week is over, I think we may have made it through the toughest part. My Mo is getting a little stronger every day and the chances of people thinking that I have just forgotten to wash my face are diminishing. I am wearing my Mo with pride and looking forward to our adventures together over the coming weeks. I will keep you posted on our progress and I am already secretly starting to think that it is going to be hard to say goodbye come the end of the month.
It is not too late to join me uk.movember.com .