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:
30 days, 26 tweets, 19 clicks, 16 donations, 11 likes, 3 mass-emails, $505 shiny new coins.
Not only it was cool to realize that people do respond to a good cause, it was also very rewarding to see just how much untapped altruism is out there, among people I work with, and even more importantly, from complete strangers. Maybe parading in ridiculous costumes while accessorizing my upper lip (and posting the pics online) was part of the appeal, too :)
On a somewhat more serious note, yes, there was a personal reason to do this: my Grandpa passed away from complications after prostate cancer treatment. About a year ago. He was 84. The medical saga started long-long before that. We actually detected that in his mid-70s, and for the most part, the treatment worked… anyway you can read all about it on the above link. So doing the silly moustache-growing stunt for a month proved both cathartic, satisfying and somewhat fitting: he was the most optimistic, light-hearted, forgiving man I knew. The more the challenge, the wider his grin. He was also a doctor. Not quite Patch Adams, but part of his approach to patients was an uncanny ability to disarm and distract with openness and humour. It worked.
So, in the spirit of putting grins on many faces, I’d like to participate in Movember again this year, with more upper-lip silliness (or class, depends on how you see it), and more hair-growth experimentation. I’m looking for a few brave men to join me. Need to build a team (and ultimately put ‘team-builder’ on my resume), and reach more people. If you’re interested, please let me know. Naturally, preference will be given to those able to grow facial hair at ridiculous speeds. If you’re a gal who wants to show off her moustache – by all means, join. Current (and past) co-workers, neighbors, relatives and immediate supervisors are all welcome to join in.
In short, let’s have fun with this whole prostate cancer thingy, stop shaving for a month (I have no objections to that whatsoever, do you?), and raise some awareness out there. And if you think the lighthearted tone is inappropriate for a cancer, consider this: if it’s both detectable and treatable, why are the stats of prostate cancer so high? Is it really detection, that dreaded visit to a doctor after your 40th birthday that scares men? Fear of drugs, maybe? Nonsense – the treatment is simple and effective, but you gotta detect early. And you gotta do it with a big smile. A chuckle. An inappropriate guffaw. A ridiculous bodily observation. And that’s the tone I’m adopting for Movember.
If you’re interested and compelled to participate, please give me a shout. Otherwise, stay tuned for a steady stream of tweets and emails starting November 1st. It’s gonna be fun, I promise you that. Plus, later you can use those photos we’ll take to scare your family members: “Honey, remember when Dmitry talked me into growing a moustache for a month for some cause? Did I really look like this?…”