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Movember 2013 – I’m only going to ask you twice

So here we are. November 4th, after 10pm, Monday night. Too late to plan a marketing strategy, too late to recruit team members. I remember just yesterday it was April and I made a mental note that right after the next long weekend I’ll start asking people whether they want to get involved in Movember this year. What happened to the last 6 months? November rolled around, and so we jump in head first. The royal We.

I’ll keep it brief. I’ve been doing Movember for a couple of years – growing facial hair for a month, to promote men’s health, prostate cancer awareness, prevention and early detection – all that serious stuff hiding behind a gimmicky marketing ploy. I have fun doing it – mainly because I get to not shave for a month. Oh, and there’s that other benefit of donating money to a good cause. I also have a personal reason for doing it – two of my grandparents were lost to cancer a few years back. So I’m no fan of cancer. I often say ‘fuck cancer’ on social media. Some people don’t like that and unfollow me. “Heroes”. My guess is they probably never watched anyone dear to them wither away in a space of a few months (let’s say, between April and October) and disappear into a glassy-eyed shell. That’s not a pretty sight. Especially for a condition that can be detected and treated early.

So for me, Movember is a reminder of just how precious our older relatives were. For you, it should be a reminder to go and see a doctor with your older brother, dad, grandpa. That’s all I aim to do – raise awareness of your loved ones’ health by showing you my unshaven face for a few weeks. Cute, right?

And for that, I expect you to donate. Yes, my silly reminders will cost you. And yes, you will donate, because those $25 or $50 bucks (or if anyone from senior management reads this, we accept 3-figure contributions as well), those amounts will instantly be justified if you happen to catch something early and dodge a serious health issue.

We often forget to check in, wind down, detox, inspect – and it all adds up. So take a little time and see a doctor. About your heart, about your lungs, about your prostate. It is worth it. Maybe instead of saying ‘fuck cancer’, you’ll get to say ‘fuck off, cancer’. But before you do that – please donate here. It’s a good cause. There’s a fantastic community out there, spreading the word, engaging people. I promise to regularly post punny and childish things on social media, to make it worth your while. Like I said, I mainly do it because I don’t have to shave for a month.

Thanks in advance. Also, spread the word. Share the page. Control-See, Control-Vee. You know the drill.

movember

Movember 2012 – call for participants

Here is the story thus far.

My grandpa beat prostate cancer a few years ago. He was a tough bird, but complications from injections, and the side effects from the many meds he took resulted in his heart weakening, so he had a stroke. And even though he continued fighting it, and restored most of his functions, he was just too old to recover, so we lost him. Two years ago this May. Technically, his heart gave out, but I’d like to think that it was cancer that started the long, painful domino-effect collapse. So, to begin with, fuck cancer.

Then there was grandma. She stood by and supported Grandpa through his ordeal, and didn’t even show a hint of weakness. All was hunky-dory, upbeat, ready to take on the world – her typical attitude. Even after he was gone, she was a pillar of strength and leadership in the family. And then, one day, we found a growth in her lungs. Mere seven months later she was gone, dissolved into a mess of tumors. That was Thanksgiving 2011. I remember exactly what I was doing when I took that call – apple-picking with my wife and kids. I love apples. Haven’t been to that farm since. Irrational, of course, since the farm is not to blame for anything. There might even be a lyrical ‘an-apple-a-day’ metaphor in this story somewhere, but let’s reduce the the argument to simple, short statements. So once again, fuck cancer.

Earlier this year, there was also a small fright with another close family member. Without going into much detail, it came out of nowhere, blasted the gastro-intestinal system into near oblivion, but we managed to recover that person and avoid another loss. For now. So in this case, don’t you fucking dare, cancer.

But it’s not all gloom and doom – there is a cancer survivor in our family, and she’s been kicking ass ever since her ‘second’ birthday. The only reason she’s with us today is early detection and treatment. The others – were just too old to manage the recovery properly, or just didn’t bother to check in early. Which brings me to Movember. You know, that gimmicky month-long event when men grow their mustaches for prostate cancer awareness and campaign for early detection. Actually, the campaign has recently expanded to include ‘men health’ in general, but at its roots, it’s about early detection of cancer. And you probably know what comes next – I’m looking for a few guys (or girls) to join the team, and let it grow wild for a month.

It’s silly, it’s irreverent, and I believe it’s the right way to battle cancer – with terrible facial hair experiments and juvenile prostate puns. We raise some money for a good cause, make fun of our unruly hair, encourage people to get checked early and often, and we take lots of pictures along the way. Do not believe me – take a look at some past shenanigans. And if you don’t want to do it specifically for cancer, do it for a man in your life. For your husband, brother, father. For whatever ails him, whatever you can prevent – it’s your choice. Find your goal, and focus on that person. Change that life.

Who’s with me? Ping/email/dm/fb/tw, or whatever else you young kids do these days. Clicking right here is another good route. Or, you can just walk over to my desk, dear co-worker, and say ‘I’m in’. Think of it – no shaving for a month! Join me for Movember this year, and bring along your cameras. Gonna be a lot of fun. And cancer can go fuck itself!

UPDATE: apparently my Movember profile removed all the photos from previous years, which means I gotta do a retrospective. Stay tuned for a photo collage. And join my team already.

Movember2011

Movember 2011 announcement

Here’s the promised important personal announcement. As you know, I got involved with a little organization called Movember last year, and somehow managed to raise over $500 bucks for prostate cancer initiatives. The amount might seem small (Canadian contribution to the cause last year topped 22 mil), until you consider that at the time I had under 70 followers, and largely used Twitter+Email to raise awareness. It was a tiny social media experiment with a microscopic megaphone, but the results were pretty amazing:

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Why am I doing Movember

Hi, folks

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/

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