As you know, November is prostate cancer awareness month. For the last 7 years socially brave men all over the world have been growing out their moustache as a sign of support. Read more about the history of this cause here: http://ca.movember.com/about/
Why did I decide to do it this year? In a word – grandpa.
In a few words – to put a spotlight on a disease that’s detectable and treatable. A disease that statistically shouldn’t be claiming so many people every year. It shouldn’t. Yet it does.
In a few more words (get your tissues ready): exactly two years ago, my grandpa turned 83. Relatively healthy, physically active, a model to other elderly men. He was already diagnosed with prostate cancer some years earlier, but was getting regular injections, daily pills, and everything was under control. In fact, the tumor shrank, blood-work stabilized, the docs were happy with results. We thought we beat it. But then things turned rather quickly for worse. A year ago he was already bed-ridden, and we lost him last spring. Today, he would have turned eighty-five. In fact, I’m pretty sure he could have turned eighty-five. He could continue brisk morning walks in the park, going grocery shopping by foot with a carry-bag under his arm, helping out with the wee ones, and doing house chores ‘all by myself, thank you very much’…
To be medically accurate, it wasn’t the cancer that ultimately took him, but it sure did trigger a tragic rollercoaster of side-effects and weaknesses that kept coming from left-field and kept reminding us that everything – EVERYTHING that has to do with prostate cancer can use an improvement. Earlier detection; more accurate testing tools; more effective meds; fewer side-effects; better consensus among doctors; more research; and just better awareness. We did all by the book (big kudos to Canadian/Ontario health system – don’t kick it for being rotten and wasteful, it does come thru with little miracles daily), and the book was recent. Still, we couldn’t completely beat it, and it was so close.
Okay, enough sniveling, back to reality. I’m growing this moustache to raise awareness about prostate cancer. I’m doing this for grandpa, and it really is the least I can do – choose not to shave a portion of the face for 30 days. Lame. Juvenile. November is not even a long month. The gimmick is silly, there’s no denying it. But I hope that silliness and (literally) in-your-face reminders are effective and compelling. I’ll keep posting updates (and more pics of my progress) on twitter and Movember pages:
And I strongly encourage you to help out and pass this around. The least you can do is hit a ‘forward’ button in your email reader, and use your discretion when picking from address book. A little more you can do is to share this around by social media (Facebook/Twitter, etc). It’s 2010, we’re all wired, and we all know more people (and have more influence) than we think. Trust me. You can also hop into your DeLorean, travel back in time 12 days, stop shaving your upper lip, and join me as a team-member on ‘Movember’ profile. But that’s not very realistic, and not everyone reading this can effectively participate. Please note a hint of ageism and sexism in previous line.
And the absolute best you can do is, frankly, open up your wallets and donate a little to the cause.
Why, you may ask? Because now that you know my personal reason for doing this, you should realize how oh-so-easily relatable and universal that reason is to you. Your brother, husband, son or father. Whatever support/donation you’ll give, you’ll be doing this for a man you know and care for. Prostate cancer is detectable and treatable. The yearly counts shouldn’t be that high. So please help bring those numbers down, and help prolong a few lives here and there.
– Dmitry B.
PS: “The next time you see me, you better be thinking of cancer”. This is a clumsy sentence, but it fits. If you can improve it, please visit the page and share your thoughts. Talk about it: