In 2012, Movember officially launched campaigns in Austria, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland for the first time; joining 1,127,152 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, UK and US. Movember is ranked in the top 100 best NGOs (charity) in the world by the Global Journal based on three key main criteria: impact, innovation and sustainability. To put that in context, there are an estimated 5 million NGOs around the world.
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men's faces (supported by their Mo Sistas (female supporters)) in Australia and around the world. There is a serious side to the Mo growing. The money raised goes to support and raise vital funds and awareness for men's health. In particular, funding for prostate and testicular cancer research along with mental health awareness campaigns. In 2012, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world raised AUD $141.5 million.
The "hairy" facts
â€¢ One in eight Australian men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime
â€¢ Around nine men die from prostate cancer each day in Australia
â€¢ Around 90% of all men diagnosed with prostate cancer will be alive five years after diagnosis
â€¢ Testicular cancer is one of the least common forms of cancer with an estimated incidence of approximately 6.9 in every 100,000 men.
â€¢ 751 new cases of testicular cancer were diagnosed in Australia in 2009
â€¢ More than half of new diagnoses of testicular cancer are in men under the age of 35
â€¢ The rate of men being diagnosed with testicular cancer has grown by more than 50% over the past 20 years, the reason for this is unknown.
â€¢ One in five Australian men (2.1 million) will experience at least one mental illness in any 12 month period
â€¢ Men generally have lower levels of awareness of mental illnesses than women
â€¢ Generally, Australian men are significantly less likely to admit that they, or someone in their family, has ever experienced a mental health issue
â€¢ In 2011, a total of 2,273 Australians died by suicide. Over 85% of these suicides were men - this translates to an average of six deaths per day, of which five are men
My slogan for the past 5 years of Movember has been, "It's ok for men to chat." A simple philosophy, but one many men find hard to translate into action. We often have no problem talking about the footy and sport in general, the weather, the next project; but, conversations about our health, even with our partners and families, can somewhat prove uncomfortable and difficult.
Movember helps raise the profile of men's health allowing greater awareness and understanding of the health risks men face, encouraging men to take action to remain well and when we are sick (beyond the dreaded "man flu"), we begin to know what to do and then take action.
I was blessed and humbled to have two conversations with fellow female staff members this past month. Both confided to me their appreciation for my efforts with Movember. One had very recently lost their father to prostate cancer (2 weeks prior to the beginning of Movember); the other, their husband recently diagnosed with the same disease.
I am not expecting to raise thousands of dollars. But I appreciate the chance to raise the issues, encourage the conversations and weather the storm of ridicule and giggles. This great cause brings to the forefront of my mind, for one month every year, the fact I am not bulletproof.
Movember fights the good fight. It is changing the face of MY health. Why not encourage the men in your life to head to the doctor and let this year be the start of their annual check up?
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found at