Movember, How My Moustache Took Over My Life

Jon's 'Stache'

My name is Jon Hartley-Folz and I am growing a moustache for Movember.  I have a team, The Lord Byng Nose Mullets, made up of five colleagues at my school.  As a cause there is a fair bit of fun in the fundraising for Movember, so much so that the message and purpose can often get somewhat obscured – an inability to see the forest for the trees or in this case, whiskers.   In the end, ignoring the heart of the matter is perhaps what makes Movember so successful and important in changing the face of men’s health.

This is my third year of November moustache growing and looking back at my own journey it all started because of the moustache.  It was an excuse to see if I could successfully grow one and if I was more Cary Grant or more Magnum P.I.  It brought nods from some of the other Dads on the playground when I dropped off my kids at school and was the start of several conversations with strangers.  It was also the beginning of several conversations with my wife, who, as a women working to promote healthy living, was not so much anti-Movember as moustache-intolerant.  In between complaints of how it looked and how it scratched, my wife challenged me to think about what it represented, and this is Movember’s best trick – it requires you to stand behind your facial hair.

So for my second year, I signed up on the website, started a team and got a check-up.  My team raised over $1,200 and more importantly it raised our own awareness around the issue.  Guys don’t talk much and we especially don’t get into conversations about health below the waist.  Movember offers up a convenient short hand – “Got your check up yet?” speaks volumes and is all that is required.   I am much more aware of the factors affecting my health and more importantly that while I grow my ‘stache’ every Fall, I also ride my bike to work twice a week and head to the pool more often than before all year round.  I think more about the food that I choose and I am more aware of some of the issues and lifestyle choices that still require my attention.

Each step that I take is important because Prostrate Cancer doesn’t go away because I choose not to acknowledge its existence.  Stats say that one in four men will die from cancer, that Prostrate Cancer will affect one in seven, and that men’s life expectancy is four to five years lower than women.  Over the last two years we have had over ten guys on our Movember Team who have been exposed to those statistics.  We are clearly not as invincible as we all would like to think we are.  The Movember by-line that Knowledge is Power, Moustache is King, is humorous and true – change comes from each of us making personal choices to be more active, eat well, visit our doctors on a regular basis, and keep the conversation going, one moustache at a time.

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Jon Hartley-Folz
Guest Blogger
Movember 2012