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Movember began over a pint in Australia in 2003. In a short space of time, what started as a bit of a laugh between mates — with no charitable element — has become an international fundraising event, which raised £57.6million in 2018.

The purpose of Movember is simple — if ambitious. They want to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%, and they’ve set themselves a target to complete this by 2030. This year, they are focusing on three major causes of premature death in men: suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

On average, one man dies by suicide every single minute of every single day worldwide. Men’s mental health carries an extra layer of stigma that makes it difficult for many to speak up and seek the help they need. Movember is tackling the problem on six fronts, which focus on opening up conversation and providing the services men really want.

1 in 9 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Movember supports research and treatment development, while also directly helping men who are navigating this disease by funding support groups and mental health care.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young US men and, although it has a 95% survival rate, it can affect men’s quality of life permanently. By supporting Movember, you’re contributing to research, treatment and pastoral support for those affected.

So now you know what Movember supports, but how can you get involved? Movember’s signature is encouraging men to grow out their facial hair during the month of November and collect sponsorship for doing so. This way they generate funds and simultaneously raise awareness for the cause. Simply having facial hair in November can open and facilitate conversations about mental health between men.

That said, growing a moustache isn’t the only way to get involved. You could grow out any hair on your body for sponsorship money, and the team suggest alternative fundraising activities like hosting a “Mo-ment” or taking part in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on a motorbike. Move for Movember encourages participants to run or walk 60 miles in the month of November, for the 60 men lost to suicide every hour around the world. They’ve even come up with some moustache-based challenges you can take part in at your workplace, school/university, with a sports team or within your social group.

Ultimately, Movember aims to bring men together and create a more open, supportive environment in which to discuss specifically male issues. Taking part in a communal action like growing facial hair is also a fun way to give men a sense of community, which in turn makes it easier to start difficult conversations

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