For the month of November, men across the country will be growing their moustaches to become walking, talking billboards for the benefit of men’s health in Canada.
If you’ve never heard of Movember or haven’t noticed the abundance of hairy upper lips in the second last month of the year, it’s a charitable initiative in which for the 30 days in November men grow a mustache on their clean-shaven face to raise funds and promote awareness about men’s health across Canada. Twenty one countries worldwide currently support Movember and its goal is to make men more aware of the health risks they face and get them to take action to get well. Specifically, the charity recognizes and provides financial support to efforts combating testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and men’s mental health.
According to the Movember Web site, men on average have shorter life spans than women (the average life expectancy for males is 78, while women’s is 82), are less likely to speak up and seek medical attention when they are feeling mentally or physically ill and one in seven Canadian men will develop prostate cancer.
It’s because of these statistics, said Jeff Lohnes, business engagement manager for Movember Canada, that the charity essentially exists.
It’s no surprise that the trucking industry in particular has been a huge supporter of the charity since the industry is male-dominated. Not only that but males in the industry aren’t exactly poster boys for health and wellness because of their sedentary lifestyle, smoker status and increasing age. Despite this, Movember seems to attract truckers across the country because it’s easy to participate and the funds raised go to a good cause.
“The trucking community has been very supportive of Movember and men’s health awareness,” said Lohnes. “We’ve had various companies from across the country take part in the campaign. At the end of the day, being a trucker, they actually have a mustache named after them and there aren’t many industries that can claim that. There’s been pretty big support (in the industry) because trucking and mustaches go hand-in-hand in a fun way.”
Lohnes said women are also encouraged to participate in the charity. Though they don’t grow a mustache, women (called Mo Sistas) still do everything a Mo Bro (a man who participates in the Movember charity) does by raising money and awareness for men’s health. Lohnes says women are especially important for the charity because “women really are the gatekeepers to men’s health and they look after so much family health.”
This would be especially true for married truck drivers who don’t have time to make an appointment with their general practitioner themselves or brush off an ailment hoping it gets better while they’re on the road instead of worrying their wives or seeing a doctor themselves.
“We really encourage both men and women to register,” said Lohnes.
Since it’s inception in 2003 in Melbourne, the Movember Foundation has raised more than $572 million across 21 countries. In 2012, Canadian Mo Bros and Mo Sistas raised $42.6 million for the charity. According to the Foundation, the impact of the charity is tangible, and they claim that 79% of participants discussed their own health with family and friends, 69% of participants had seen their doctor for a checkup and 43% became more aware of the health risks they face.
You can sign up to participate in the Movember movement on Sept. 15 at www.movember.com when registration officially opens.
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface